Washington Nationals fans are left to forever wonder what could have been if the team allowed Stephen Strasburg to pitch in the 2012 postseason rather than shutting him down because of an innings cap. The Nationals certainly could have used another arm in the 2012 NLDS when they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in five games.
However, it should be noted that Washington had Game 5 under wraps until their bullpen imploded. I guess you could argue that the team could have used Strasburg in a bullpen role rather than starting him, but we know how much hindsight means. On Tuesday, Davey Johnson was asked if his team would have advanced to the NLCS if Strasburg pitched.
Davey Johnson on if the Nats would have beaten the Cards last year if Strasburg pitched…"Probably"
— 106.7 The Fan (@1067thefandc) September 25, 2013
Although that’s debatable, it’s a valid question and one the Nationals knew they would have to answer. Johnson was also asked about a recent article by John Feinstein of the Washington Post, which basically argued that the Nats cost themselves a championship by shutting down Strasburg. Johnson didn’t want to go that far.
“I say he’s an idiot,” the Nats manager told The Junkies on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday. “You do what’s best for today with an eye on tomorrow. I live by the rule and Mike Rizzo lives by that rule. I mean, look at RGIII. You’re still suffering for decisions you made on him, you know, running him out there.”
It’s easy to look back now and assume Strasburg would have dominated. The bottom line is there is no guarantee Strasburg would not have gotten racked. It can happen to any pitcher on any day. Nationals fans should remember that when they have to listen to people taking shots at their team over the way they handled their ace.
H/T Eye on BaseballGoogle+