By: Dan Hauser
By now we all know about Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg’s inning pitch count. It’s talked about on every sports channel, mentioned during every Nationals highlight, and discussed during every one of his starts. Whether the organization lets him go 160 or 180 innings one thing is for certain. The Washington Nationals are shutting down their star-studded ace before the end of the season while they are all but a lock to make their first postseason in franchise history. The question now is could this all have been avoided with better planning.
The Nationals knew from the day spring training started that he was going to have this inning count. It was originally set at 160 innings. Yet the franchise had no contingency plan set up for if this team, which was built to make a playoff run this year, actually made the playoffs. Fast forward five months to August and here we have the Nationals currently holding the best record in baseball and anywhere from 30 to 50 innings away from shutting down their staff ace.
It seems like there was once simple solution to all of this that could have stopped this all from happening. The Nationals could have simply spread out his starts a little more and extended the life of his season. Instead of pitching him once every five days, they could have pitched him once every six or even seven days. The Atlanta Braves have gone to a six-man rotation so why couldn’t Washington do the same?
Another option the Nationals could have done was shut him down now and save the innings he has left for when they need him in the playoffs. However, the team seems to be content on throwing him out there once every five days, shutting him down at 160 or 180, and then explaining to fans when the playoffs roll around why their all star phenom is on the bench instead of on the hill.