The moment that Nationals fans have been dreading since the summer, has finally come along earlier this morning; Stephen Strasburg has been shut down for the remainder of the year. Strasburg's last start this season was yesterday against the Marlins, where he lasted only three innings, and gave up 5 runs.
The announcement was made public by Manager Davey Johnson earlier this morning. The whole idea of shutting him down sometime in September was to preserve him to pitch for the Nationals extensively in the near future. Strasburg recently came back from Tommy-John surgery that kept him out of most of last season. However, surprisingly, Johnson said the move to shut Strasburg down was more mental than physical, saying that it was clear that Strasburg did not have his head in the game yesterday. "To be honest with you, I think he just is thinking too much about the decision when we're going to shut him down," Johnson said after the game Friday night. "And he kind of wore it. He didn't like it. But that's the way it is."
Nationals pitcher John Lannan will replace Strasburg's spot in the rotation, and will make his first start Wednesday against the Mets in New York.
Strasburg this year has pitched 159 1/3 innings, with a 15-5 record, 197 strikeouts, and an ERA of 2.85.
"I didn't command the fastball, kept on getting behind in the counts," Strasburg said on his start last night. "I wasn't able to use my other pitches effectively and they kept teeing off on me a little bit."
The Nationals stated that this coming Wednesday would likely have been Strasburg's final appearance of the season, even though the Nationals are probable to make postseason baseball for the first time since the original Senators in 1933.
Johnson said Strasburg may have been distracted by the shutdown talk - and who would blame him.
"I can understand where he's at, and even in the conversations that I've had with him, he was having trouble sleeping, thinking about letting the guys down. So I understand his mood."
The Nationals move on Strasburg-less when they take on the Marlins today, at 1:05 p.m. Ross Detwiler will be on the mound for the Nats.