WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 01: Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after winning the National League East Division Championship after the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park on October 1, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Starting pitching was arguably the Washington Nationals' biggest strength during the regular season. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case so far in the playoffs.
The starters of Games 1 and 2, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann, lasted a combined eight innings, allowed eight hits, seven earned runs and seven walks (all Gonzalez's). Not so good.
If only the Nationals had another ace that they could turn to, one with a goatee whose name begins with "S" and ends with "Tephen Strasburg." They don't, but they wish they did.
According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, an anonymous National told him that "if we had ‘Stras, we’d be up 2-0."
Of course by now you probably know all about Strasburg's shutdown, which finally happened Sept. 8 after season-long speculation regarding his innings limit. I would go into further detail, but I assume that if you're reading this, you already know what it's about, and personally, all Strasburg and no play makes Adam something something.
Meanwhile, another anonymous Nat said that “we’ve got to win [the World Series] to make ["The Shutdown"] go away." That may be, but as Rosenthal himself said, "no one can say for sure what might have happened if Strasburg had pitched, just as no one can say for sure that the Nationals chose the right course by shutting him down after his Sept. 7 start."
I guess we'll never know, but if the Nationals fail to win the pennant, be prepared for a winter of second-guessing, which is not as pleasant as a winter of certainty. Or something like that.
Help me, John Steinbeck.
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