Rant on. I couldn’t help myself today…
It was great to see that they couldn’t even wait until GAME THREE of the divisional series to post the first “Gee wish we had Stephen Strasburg” story. Here’s the link, courtesy of Ken Rosenthal. I’ll bet he had this article in the can weeks ago just waiting for a slow news day to post it.
Rosenthal quotes an anonymous player who doesn’t agree with the shutdown Situation, who said that “the team would be up 2-0″ if they had Strasburg.” Such a gutless reporting technique; notice there was nothing other than a passing mention that there are clubhouse guys who agree with the shutdown. Just cherry-picking opinions (of which there are dozens in a clubhouse) until he found one that enabled him to write the story he wanted to write.
He talks about how the Braves “handled” Kris Medlen so that he was still pitching in the post-season. There’s no way Medlen-to-Strasburg comparisons are correct. Medlen was absolutely not in the starting rotation discussion in Atlanta, and if he was he was 8th or 9th in line. And there’s no way that Medlen was anything other than found gold to the Braves in terms of how good a starter he would turn out to be. And there’s nobody who can tell me any differently. Lastly, do you think perhaps the Braves would rather have used Medlen from the start of the season, had they known how dominant he’d be?? Do you think they would have finished in 2nd place in this division had they had Medlen all season? Because last time I checked, the Braves lost their one-and-done WITH MEDLEN ANYWAY and are playing golf while the Nats are sitting pretty in the divisional series.
Nobody ever mentions this, but Strasburg was mediocre down the stretch. He had a 4.14 ERA in his last 10 starts, a 4.50 ERA in his last handful of games, alternating between excellent and awful. You could argue “arbitrary endpoints” but to me it sounds like a guy running out of gas, no? Who is to say that the team wouldn’t have recognized that he was running on fumes anyway, and shut him down at the time they did regardless of an innings limit? Why does nobody talk about this fact? That’s because the National media narrative w/r/t Strasburg is LAZY. Regurgitate the same stories, talk about the same platitudes of there being “no proof that shutting him down isn’t the best thing to do.”
Here’s my analogy; if you had heart surgery and your cardiologist only told you to pitch 160 innings the next year, you’d do it and not complain about it right? Well Strasburg’s ARM SURGEON advised the team on this limit after having ARM SURGERY, and the team followed it. I don’t think we’d be hearing all these back seat pundits talking about how the Nats are idiots for resting a guy if it was his heart that was cut and not his elbow. To say nothing of the fact that he’s young (24), under team control for at least four more years , and the team isn’t exactly looking like a one-year wonder right now, fielding the 3rd youngest pitching squad and the youngest hitting squad in the major leagues. Every core player and pitcher is locked up or under team control for at least three-four years. There’s NO reason to think that this team won’t be contending for years to come, irrespective of what any other team in the division does.
The Nats got a split in St. Louis. That’s the best they could hope for against a dangerous opponent. Wainwright isn’t going to strike out 2 batters an inning every time he goes out. The Nats BLASTED Lohse this season. Carpenter has what, three starts this year? And the last time Jackson pitched against St. Louis at home, he went 8 shutout innings. There’s more to this series than just Strasburg and St. Louis; the National media should try covering the Nationals for a change.
*sigh*. So sick of hearing about Strasburg. Can’t we talk about the Nats?! They did have the best record in baseball after all.
/Rant off. Stepping down from sandbox.