Paul Hoynes had an interesting article on Cleveland.com, detailing Justin Masterson’s thoughts on the Stephen Strasburg situation. In a nutshell, Strasburg has been told he’s got a hard 180 IP limit for this season. He’s already at 133.1 innings. At 23 starts, that means about 5.8 innings a start. That gives him eight more starts at the same rate. Obviously, they are in danger of completely shutting down Strasburg for the playoffs. They could shut him down, but then risk the possibility the Nationals lose their playoff spot (unlikely, but possible). Justin Masterson’s response? “Let him pitch.”
I agree. Before you accuse of me being Dusty Baker, (I assure you, we look nothing alike, apart from the fact we both wear glasses) what some folks have missed is that his 133.1 IP haven’t been all that stressful at present. He averages 94.13 pitches a start. His season high is 119. I imagine his pitch count will be even lower in non-crucial games coming up. If the Nats are up by a lot or down by a lot, he’ll get pulled in the fifth.
Yes, Strasburg has had a lot of injury problems. Yes, the Nationals hope he’ll be an ace for a long time to come. However, this year could be lightning in a bottle. World Championships are really hard to come by and I don’t think his arm will fall off because he makes an extra eight starts (at maximum). It’s penny wise, pound foolish, to deny your team what could be its very best chance at winning the World Series in some time.