The Nationals announced today that Stephen Strasburg‘s start last night was his final one of the season, and that he will be shut down.
The decision comes as somewhat of a surprise, as the team had previously announced that his final start would likely come
September 12th in New York. However, after last night’s 3 IP, 5 ER start, the team was concerned. When asked about Strasburg after last night’s game, manager Davey Johnson said: “I think he was thinking too much about the decision of what we were going to shut him down, and he kind wore it like it. … I think he wasn’t focused as much on the game as he was on the impending shutdown.”
As everyone has known since the beginning of this season, Strasburg is being shut down at 160 IP (or, more precisely, 159 1/3 IP) as a part of his recovery from the Tommy John surgery he had in 2010. The move has been advised by multiple doctors, including the one who performed the surgery, Dr. Lewis Yocum. Nats pitcher Jordan Zimmermann was subject to a similar innings limit last season, which appears to have worked well, as Zimmermann has thrown to a 2.99 ERA in 171 2/3 IP this year. Regardless, the decision has been highly controversial for one reason: the Nats are in a playoff race, and they are a weaker team without Strasburg.
Whatever your opinion is, this decision is certainly going to be talked about for a while.