The Washington Nationals caught another break with ace pitcher Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg was scratched from his last start due to forearm tightness, but he is now expected to return to the mound on Thursday night against the Miami Marlins:
Stephen Strasburg’s bullpen session went “great,” Davey said. He’s set to start on 9/19. #nats
— Amanda Comak (@acomak) September 17, 2013
According to one report, Strasburg’s forearm tightness came up while experimenting with pitches in a bullpen session. While it’s great that he’s trying to improve his game and make life more miserable for opposing batters, Strasburg is not exactly in a position where experimenting and trying new things is needed. If you look past his record, you’ll see that Strasburg has been one of the most dominant pitchers all season long.
In 2013, the right-handed fireball thrower is 7-9 and has a 2.96 ERA with 181 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.04. His ERA ties him for eighth in the NL with St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright. His WHIP puts him at sixth, his strikeouts tie him for 13th and his BAA of .204 ranks him third in the NL among qualifying pitchers with 160 IP.
So why on earth is he experimenting? To quote a wise man, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Strasburg nearly broke himself while trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. He’s been a dominant pitcher all season long. It’s great that he wants to evolve his game, but he’s got to go about doing that in the offseason. He’s only got a couple of starts left this September, and they still matter since the Nationals do have a chance of making the playoffs.
It is intriguing, however, to think about what exactly was Strasburg “experimenting” with. Could he be working on a curveball that breaks a whopping five feet? What about a knuckleball that starts of aiming for the batter’s head, then the umpire’s head, then the batter’s knees before finally diving back across the plate for a strike? What? It could happen.
It’s okay that Strasburg wants to add a few new entries to his portfolio of pitches. However, during the season, and more importantly during a playoff push, is not the time to be doing that and risk hurting himself. The fact that Strasburg is now trying to elevate his game by adding to his arsenal of pitches is fantastic to those who wear a Nationals jersey, and terrifying to those who don’t.