- So Stephen Strasburg is officially shut-down now after 159 innings because he had a rough last outing, which really hurts the Nationals chances in the playoffs and is just, weird. I understand the thinking behind the move, I just don't think it's the right plan. Simply getting to the playoffs is damn hard, so when you have a chance at a special year I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense to jeopardize that when you don't even know if there's any actual benefit to doing so.
In the playoffs everybody will bump up one spot, which means the extra starts - assuming four starters - will go to Ross Detwiler instead of Strasburg. Detwiler's a nice little pitcher - 3.23 ERA, 1.19 WHIP - nice. But he strikes out half as many batters as Stras while walking the same amount, he's gotten a little bit lucky this year while Strasburg has gotten a tiny bit unlucky (BABIP-wise), and Detwiler throws three average pitches while Strasburg has three above average ones. I suppose when you end up replacing your ace with your #4 you could a lot worse than Detwiler, but man, Strasburg. Strasburg, man, Strasburg.
Honestly, is this the worst possible way they could have handled this? If you're firmly committed to that 160-180 innings limit, however misguided, why wouldn't you at least make an attempt to maximize your value out of it? Don't just keep running him out there every fifth day because you know come early September you've just run out of your best bullets (armor piercing, exploding, acid tipped, whatever). Why not skip a few starts? Why not go with a six-man rotation? You could even go with a four man rotation and then slot him in just when you need another arm. Or hell, spot start him part of the time and then use him in relief here and there. Manage him so you have innings left for him in the playoffs, even if they're just bullpen innings. Game 7, World Series: would you rather start Strasburg or Detwiler? Or how about Game 7, leading 3-2, 8th inning and your opponent has a man on second with zero outs - Strasburg or Craig Stammen? Ugh. I'd be so frustrated if I were a Nats fan, but then again I heard from some dude on the radio today that everybody in Washington is buying into this crap, so I guess they deserve what they get. I hope Detwiler gets completely rocked.
- I'm not generally one to make excuses for the University of Minnesota because it's more fun to just rip on stuff, but I had a conversation with some co-workers today that kind of made me think a little bit. Think about all the cities that have all four major sports, like we do: Boston, Chicago, Denver, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New York, Philly, Phoenix, San Fran, and D.C. And look at the most successful college sports program in that same city: Boston College, Northwestern, U of Denver, Southern Methodist, Detroit-Mercy, U of Miami, St. John's, Villanova/Temple, Arizona State, Cal-Berkeley, Georgetown. Now looking at that list, and considering success in ALL college sports, who'd you rather be than the University of Minnesota? Miami and Cal, right? Maybe B.C.? Obviously St. John's and Georgetown are better in hoops, but they don't even have football teams I don't think.
So maybe, just maybe, I'm a little too hard on the teams. After all, most college powers are located in some butthole town in the middle of nowhere so the population has really no choice but to spend all it's money and fan points on the college. It's also how mini-cults like State College and the like happen, so I'm not saying that's a good thing, but it certainly gives you an idea of why the Gophers struggle at times. Oh god, I don't even know who I am anymore. Look away, I'm hideous.
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