Mike Rizzo: Stephen Strasburg Will Have to Pass the Eye Test to Pitch Beyond 160 Innings

By Bryan Lutz

If you had July 18, 2012 in the “When will Mike Rizzo backtrack on his Stephen Strasburg innings limit” pool, you just won the grand prize! Finally, the Washington Nationals GM is coming to his senses when it comes to his pitching phenom.

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Thank the Lord. The self-imposed 160 innings limit on Stephen Strasburg’s gifted right arm is one of the most meaningless things I can remember in the past few years. I understand wanting to keep Stephen Strasburg healthy. God knows how important he is to the Washingtion Nationals’ future. But setting a limit for 160 is so completely arbitrary that it’s hard to imagine it would have any long-term positive effects. Seriously, if Stephen Strasburg breaks down in say three years and pitched 183 innings, will you blame Mike Rizzo for being irresponsible? You shouldn’t. But if the Nats miss the chance at making their first World Series in franchise history because of it, then blame can be given.

Playoff opportunities don’t grow on trees, let alone realistic World Series aspirations. The Nationals have a legitmate chance of representing the National League in the World Series this season with their pitching staff. A pitching staff that is anchored by Stephen Strasburg. You have to go for it.

I don’t mind limiting Strasburg in August/September, especially given the fact the Nationals will likely cruise into the playoffs. But Rizzo cannot rest him if they make the postseason. If Stephen Strasburg was a small guy like Scott Kazmir or Tim Lincecum, then I can understand the sentiment, but he’s a big boy and can handle a workload.

So far this season, Stephen Strasburg is 10-4, with a 2.66 ERA, 2.43 FIP, and a remarkable 11.57 K/9. Who wouldn’t want that kind of pitching in the postseason? Maybe Mike Rizzo, unfortunately.

Bryan is a featured writer for Rant Sports. Although he concentrates mostly on the game of baseball, you can find him covering things all over the Rant Sports Network.

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