WASHINGTON -- The Nationals were planning to give Stephen Strasburg one more start before placing him in mothballs. But, one day after watching the Marlins knock him around, the Nationals decided to wait no longer. Strasburg was informed this morning that his season was over.
"Mentally and physically, Stephen looked like he was fatigued," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. "It's the prudent time to pull the plug on Stras."
The Marlins peppered Strasburg for five runs on six hits -- including a pair of homers -- before knocking him out after the third. It was the second time in less than two weeks that the Marlins have gone to town on Strasburg, who had held them scoreless for 27 consecutive innings at one point earlier in the season. But the division-leading Nationals, who are closing in on the organization's first playoff berth, have said since February that, in order to protect him for the future, they would not allow Strasburg to pitch the entire season. Strasburg is two years removed from Tommy John surgery, and Rizzo said the Nationals made their decision after looking carefully at medical and performance data involving pitchers who have had elbow ligament replacement surgery.
The plan was for Strasburg to make one final start next week in New York. But after watching him struggle Friday, Rizzo said he and Nationals manager Davey Johnson decided to "pull the plug on him" immediately.
"It's a plan we've had since February 1, so I don't think people should be surprised," Rizzo said.
One way or another, it's a gutsy call.
Question: Given that the Nationals are in the September stretch drive and a team from Washington hasn't appeared in the postseason since 1933, are they making the right decision about Strasburg? How would you feel if the Marlins were in the Nationals' shoes and decided to shut down their staff ace a month away from possible postseason glory?