At the end of last season, Washington Nationals fans and baseball fans all around were confused and shocked by the controversial decision made by the club on September 8 to shut down Stephen Strasburg for the rest of the 2012 regular season and postseason.
The end result of that 2012 season, after winning their division with some picking them to go to the World Series, was that the Nats fell flat on their face in the first round and lost in five games to the St. Louis Cardinals in epic fashion, thanks to a ninth-inning meltdown by Drew Storen.
However, the Nationals probably figured, “oh well we have a great young team and we will be World Series’ contenders for years to come.”
Not so fast.
Fast forward to this season, and the Nationals are currently 15.5 games out of first place in the NL East and nine games out of the second Wild Card spot. I know anything can happen in sports, but I am sure I’m not only speaking for myself when I say that the Nationals will not make the playoffs this year.
Not only are the Nationals having a horrible and disappointing season, Strasburg also currently has a 5-9 record.
Regret making the decision to shut Strasburg down last season yet?
I wholeheartedly blame the Nationals’ poor season on GM Mike Rizzo and owner Ted Lerner. I honestly do not believe that manager Davey Johnson had anything to do with shutting down Strasburg. Johnson was the manager of the 1986 New York Mets and is an old-school manager. Do you honestly think Johnson would actually want to shutdown his star pitcher for the rest of the season because of an innings limit?
This perplexing decision is now costing the Nationals this season and maybe even their future. What if Strasburg never returns to form, and what if last year was their only shot to win a World Series for a long time? Only time will tell, but I bet both Rizzo and Lerner are kicking themselves as we speak.