Posted September 09, 2012

Stephen Strasburg fires back about Nationals’ decision to shut him down

MLB

Stephen Strasburg thinks he’s still healthy enough to pitch for the Nationals. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg had some choice words for team management after the decision was made on Sept. 7 to shut him down for the rest of the season, according to Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post:

“I don’t know if I’m ever going to accept it, to be honest,” Strasburg said. “It’s something that I’m not happy about at all. That’s not why I play the game. I play the game to be a good teammate and win. You don’t grow up dreaming out playing in the big leagues to get shut down when the games start to matter. It’s going to be a tough one to swallow.”

The team had originally set a date of Sept. 12 to end his season, but following a loss to the Miami Marlins on Friday, in which he gave up five runs in three innings, the team decided to move up that date. According to Kilgore, the Nationals noticed that Strasburg’s breaking ball and “hop” on his fast ball have not been what the team is used to seeing.

Thomas Boswell of The Washington Post said that the 24-year-old pitcher may feel fine, but his numbers tell a different story:

When the shutdown was announced Saturday morning, Strasburg had the fifth (and worst) ERA in the rotation whether measured since May 15th (3.75) or over the quintet’s last 10 starts each (4.14).

Heading into Sunday’s game against the Marlins, the Nationals held a 6.5 game lead over the Atlanta Braves for the lead in the National League.


9 comments
Scott13
Scott13

To quote Mr. Pacino, "you could get killed... walkin your doggie!"  He should pitch if he feels healthy.  Decision should be his.  He wouldn't be stupid enough to ruin his career if he was feeling weakness in the arm.  Or would he?

RickDesper
RickDesper

Strasburg's in a no-win situation.  If he doesn't complain, the media says that he doesn't care about winning.  If he does complain, the media says that he is angry at his employer.

wzrdrcr
wzrdrcr

I hope he gets traded saw him pitch here in Syracuse ny he is awesome and deserves a proper shot at a world series ring. He sure beats the I have a hangnail can't pitch pansies most pitchers are.

ScreenBard
ScreenBard

This type of dogmatic stupidity is entrenched in major league baseball.  Ever since Billy Martin ruined the Oakland A's starters by overdoing it, and Tony LaRussa found success with a revolving door bullpen culminating in the one-inning closer, starters no longer complete games and young, healthy pitchers are "shut down" to avoid injury.  But the only way to learn how to pitch through periods where you're tired is to pace yourself and continue pitching.  When I was younger, I pitched nine hours a day, four to five days a week, with no ill effects.  I was no major league talent, just someone who loved the game and loved to pitch, but I learned how to pitch out of jams and how to use other pitches when I was getting tired.  Strasburg could be a "horse" in the old-fashioned sense, an ace who pitches 250-300 innings regularly, but this moronic specialization and overprotectiveness has ruined pitching.  Strasburg is right.  The Washington "brain trust" is wrong.  Check your history.  A lot of innings never hurt the Carlton's, Marichal's, Tiant's, Gibson's, Drysdale's, Perry's, Sutton's, Palmer's, Cuellar's, Hunter's, Jenkins' and on and on.  They're so afraid of damaging their high-priced investment that they use him less, thereby necessitating the use of more pitchers who don't even belong on major league rosters.  This is such a moronic, illogical conception that it's hard to believe it was ever allowed to take root.  Let Strasburg pitch, but don't let him throw between starts, only on game day.  Have the pre-1980 records been wiped clean, as in some dictatorship?  Why does everyone, and I mean everyone, drink the Kool-Aid?  This includes managers who played back then and know better.  

Chili Palmer
Chili Palmer

You accept it and shut up? Is that what you want from your sports superstars!?!?! I want players who want to compete and be out there when it matters. Strasburg has every right to speak out about it. He wants to be out there when it matters and for that I commend him for it. Yes the Nationals have lots of money invested in him for the team's future but that doesn't mean he has to be quiet about it.I want the ball when it matters, I want to be the person given the presentation in front of the board fully knowing I will be fired at with questions but I want that pressure.We should want the same for our sports stars and for ourselves. 

scott42444
scott42444

I have noticed a couple of articles, the Bears' Forte and Urlacher being another, where I find the non-stop news cycle being to blame for putting some of these guys in lose-lose situations.  We all want, as fans, to see guys who want to go out there "no matter what" to help their teams win.  If he says he is okay with it, people will get on his case (and think he had a say in the decision) for not wanting to be out there.  If I were in management, I would tell the player to tell the press that he is upset and wants to play and take the heat for the decision.  I personally respect Rizzo for making this decision, because it shows the opposite of what I have experienced in the past with the Cubs.  The Cubs, and the breakdown of Wood, Prior, and the like were kind of the starting point of this trend of limiting innings.  If you have been pay attention to those guys (and based on their terrible record I wouldn't blame you if you weren't), they are doing the same thing with Samardzija by shutting him down to save him.  Of course, they aren't in the W.S. hunt.  Having less than stellar stats the last 10 starts is one thing, but he is still a guy you want on the hill every fifth start.  Plus, if they have the best record in the National League next year it will be a rarity for a team to repeat the feat in consecutive years.  They are young enough though to where I could see them being the exception to the rule.  

AniCrotophaga
AniCrotophaga

It may or may not be a stupid move but when your employer tells you to stop playing, you stop, and accept it. They have millions invested in you, so shut up!

scott42444
scott42444

 @ScreenBard Which one of those pitchers you mentioned above had Tommy John surgery only a few years prior?  You have to include that in your assessment for it to make sense.