With a 6 1/2 game lead in the NL East, it’s safe to say the Washington Nationals will most likely win the division over the next couple of weeks and make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. If they do end up making the playoffs, the Nationals will unfortunately have to play without one of their star pitchers–Stephen Strasburg.
The Nationals made the decision to shut down Strasburg for the season after his final start on September 12 to avoid their star pitcher overusing his arm for the 2012 season. Washington has been cautious all season as far as how many innings they should use Strasburg during the regular season in case they made a strong run at the playoffs and now–they’re dealing with a situation they were hoping to avoid.
If the Nationals knew they were talented enough to make a strong run at the playoffs, why wouldn’t they consider limiting Strasburg more at the beginning of the season for this type of situation. With the type of numbers Strasburg has displayed during the regular season, having him in the lineup for the playoffs would have been a huge advantage for Washington.
Instead, this team will need to figure out a game plan for the playoffs that doesn’t involve using Strasburg in the lineup. The talent is certainly there, but if Washington falls short of the World Series because of a move like this–they’ll be scratching their heads a few months from now wondering what they were thinking.
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