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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Dennis Eckersley: The Nationals will have to pitch Stephen Strasburg in playoffs

If you think the Stephen Strasburg innings limit is a big story now, just wait another month or so. When the Nationals initially decided to place a ceiling on how much Strasburg can pitch after his return from Tommy John surgery, they likely were not thinking about the postseason. The playoffs are a novel concept in the nation’s capital, so GM Mike Rizzo and company probably weren’t looking too far down the road. With the Nationals looking like a great bet to win the NL East, reports have surfaced that Strasburg will be shut down for the year before the playoffs.

Like most of us, Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley doesn’t see how that is going to work.

“They’ve done the math, they know what they’re doing,” Eckersley said earlier this week according to DC Sports Bog. “If they mean it, I guess they mean it. To me, when it happens, I’ll believe it. Because how do you go into the playoffs and say Strasburg’s not pitching?

“To me, I know Strasburg wants the ball. There’s no doubt about it. But the day will come and everybody’s gonna be waiting for that day, because I don’t think it is. They’re gonna have to pitch him. I’m telling you. I can’t imagine not.”

I couldn’t agree more. If you’re a Nationals fan, you’re probably in denial right now. The team hasn’t made the playoffs since they were the Montreal Expos in 1981. They haven’t finished with a winning record in any season since moving to D.C. in 2005. Can the team really lessen their chances of making a World Series run by shutting down a 24-year-old phenom who has a sub-3.00 ERA on the season? That’s why I’m with Eckersley — there’s simply no way they can.

Photo Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

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