...and with the first pick of the 2009 MLB draft the Washington Nationals select Stephen Strasburg. After cruising through the minor leagues in 2010, Strasburg injured his elbow and was forced to get Tommy John surgury. Strasburg is viewed as a once-in-a-generation pitching prospect and to protect his career the Nationals came up with the Strasburg Rules in the beginning of the season that limited their ace to 160 innings. Thus far, Strasburg has pitched 133.1 innings. The Nationals have the best record in the Major Leagues after 116 games (72-44); with 46 games remaining, Strasburg can potentially get 9 more starts. According to the Strasburg Rules, Stephen is only eligible to pitch approximately 27 more innings, which is only 5 more starts at 5 IP each start.
Davey Johnson and the Washington Nationals not only have a chance to win their division but they are also capable of winning the World Series this year. By the nature of the game, to win the world series is an incredibly difficult task. The contending franchise can't just tell themselves that they will win it next year; teams have gone 86 years without a World Series ring i.e. the Red Sox. This is why I feel like it is foolish to shut down maybe the most dominant pitcher in baseball and not give yourself the best chance to win the game of his start. He should be the pitcher on the bump for game one of the postseason. The opposing arguement has concern for the health of Strasburg in the long run. My point is, in the long run what is 220 IP compared to 160 IP? If the Nationals were to cut off Strasburg at 160 IP and did not win the World Series and Strasburg had a career ending injury in his first start next season, the Strasburg Rules would be all for nothing. Strasburg has suffered no pain or discomfort thus far. Why not let him go until he does? If anything maybe he could miss a couple starts from now until the postseason but he should have the ball in his hand when the game is on the line.