Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson put an end to the most heated non-political topic in the nation’s capital: The Nationals will shut down pitcher Stephen Strasburg on Sept. 12, after his final scheduled start against the New York Mets at Citi Field.
Strasburg will make just two more starts after the Nationals entertained a limit on their prized third-year hurler prior to the start of the 2012 season after returning from Tommy John surgery.
As the Washington Post‘s Adam Kilgore reported in February:
The Nationals will not manipulate Strasburg’s pitching schedule in order to extend his season, letting him pitch every fifth game from the start of the regular season until he hits roughly 160 innings, and then ending his season.
“There’s not going to be a whole lot of tinkering going on,” general manager Mike Rizzo said.
“We’re going to run him out there until his innings are gone and then stop him from pitching.”
The decision seemed sound to most until Major League Baseball’s youngest franchise put together their best season, boasting the best winning percentage in both leagues and holding a 6 1/2-game lead in the National League East.
The Nationals’ hot start tested the patience and wisdom of fans, some MLB media members and even medical experts, but the team has stuck to its plan despite losing a key cog during the heat of the team’s first playoff race and a likely playoff berth.
Nationals pitchers Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler are expected to pick up the slack in Strasburgh’s absence.