After seeing his ace struggle through two of his last three starts, Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson has told Stephen Strasburg that the team has decided to shut him down before his last scheduled start.
The Nationals have decided that after undergoing Tommy John surgery just a year ago, Strasburg will not pitch again this season.
According to espn.com, Johnson’s decision to shut down Strasburg was more mental than physical, saying he felt his young phenom’s head wasn’t in the game. “To be honest with you, I think he just is thinking too much about the decision when we’re going to shut him down,” said Johnson. “And he kind of wore it. He didn’t like it. But that’s the way it is.”
Strasburg has been a Cy Young contender the entire season and ends the season with a record of 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA, 197 strikeouts and just 43 walks in 159 1/3 innings. Yesterday Strasburg matched a career low by lasting just three innings and allowing 5 runs in a 10-inning, 9-7 loss to the Miami Marlins.
“I didn’t command the fastball, kept on getting behind in the counts,” Strasburg said. “I wasn’t able to use my other pitches effectively and they kept teeing off on me a little bit.”
The decision to shut Strasburg down has been a hot topic, especially when you take into consideration the Nationals are poised for their first playoff birth since the original Washington Senators in 1933.
The decision has weighed heavily on Strasburg, who understands his value to this franchise and doesn’t want to let anyone down.
“I can understand where he’s at,” Johnson said. “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.”