The Tough Case of Stephen Strasburg
Will Rossmiller-COMMENTARY
wross460@uwsp.edu
After much debate throughout the last month, the Washington Nationals have officially shut down their ace pitcher Stephen Strasburg.
 
The debate has been going on for months as to what the Nationals should do about the upcoming, self-imposed, innings limit put on Strasburg after undergoing Tommy John surgery at the end of the 2010 season.
 
After only pitching three innings, and giving up five earned runs, Strasburg made it easy for the organization to finally pull the plug on his season.
 
Strasburg ended the year with 159 1/3 innings pitched, with a 3.16 ERA, a 15-6 record and 197 strikeouts.
 
My only question to the Nationals is how could you possibly shut down your best player at the most important time in the season?
 
With Strasburg in their rotation, the Nationals present one of, if not the most, formidable rotations in the National League.
 
There has to have been a way that the Nationals’ organization could have planned ahead for this. Why not have Strasburg skip starts in the beginning of the season, so you would have him for your playoff push?
 
The Nationals have to understand that they aren’t just in the playoffs; they have a legitimate chance at winning it all.
 
Think about all of the fans that are counting on this organization to give the city of Washington D.C. its first World Series since 1924.
 
Then think about all of the players that have put in their hard work during the off-season and during spring training, like UW-Stevens Point alum Jordan Zimmerman.
 
These players deserve this chance at a World Series more than anyone, and, because of bad planning by their organization they may not get the chance that they so much deserve.
 
It’s sad when the actions of only a few people will affect so many people that are hoping, and deserve the same thing.
 
Some may think that I’m being too harsh, but how often does a team get a legitimate chance to win a World Series, two or three times with the team they have, maybe?
 
When you have an opportunity in major league baseball to do something as special as win a World Series, you do every single thing that you can to make it happen.
 
A common reason for shutting down Strasburg is because of his Tommy John surgery and the stress of putting his arm through a full 162 game season, plus playoffs. But there are simple ways to avoid this.
 
Besides the aforementioned skipping starts, Strasburg could have also been moved to the bullpen later in the season. This would prevent him from getting too many innings, but he would still be able to contribute.
 
There are plenty of examples of pitchers getting over-exposed at a young age, and that is why the Nationals are being so careful.
 
This is a threat for young pitchers, but Strasburg is not under the same amount of pressure, and doesn’t have the inning totals, that Mark Prior experienced when he was the self-proclaimed savior of the Chicago Cubs.
 
If the Nationals believe that Strasburg will give them a better chance to win the World Series if he’s on the field, then how can they possibly no-pitch him during the playoffs?