John Feinstein Still Doesn’t Get the Nationals and the Strasburg Shutdown

On CBS Sports Radio, they run commentary from their radio hosts.

John Feinstein produced a remarkably ignorant commentary about the Strasburg Shutdown.

Myth #1

Feinstein, included some obnoxious hyperbole:“Last year, when Strasburg sneezed he was taken to the emergency room.”

Actually, he didn’t miss a single start throughout the year, until his season was ended. He went to the mound every fifth day and had a remarkable season. There’s a belief in the national media that Strasburg was treated differently last year. The truth is he was treated like every other pitcher in the Nationals system recovering from Tommy John surgery. He pitched the same number of innings as Jordan Zimmermann the year before, and will have pitched under the same recovery plan the Nats have for Sammy Solis and Lucas Giolito. The only people treating Strasburg different are the willfully uninformed national media members like John Feinstein. The Nats are remarkably consistent.

Myth #2

A year ago the Nationals passed on a chance to win the World Series by shutting down a healthy Strasburg.”

This is the most annoying belief of the national sports media. It assumes Strasburg is pitching at his peak and starts game one and five of the NLDS and leads the Nats to victory; that his mere presence on the mound would have made the defending champion Cardinals and eventual champions Giants wilt. This assumption forgets that as Strasburg reached his innings limit, his arm showed signs of fatigue (Like Rizzo said it would). He ended the season getting rocked in 3 of his last 8 starts and saw his ERA end over 3.00, when he had been in the 2s all year long. Bottom line, he was not same pitcher down the stretch, but it would take someone who watched the games to understand this. That’s one of the reasons why Nats fans were fine and understood the shutdown. The pitcher who replaced Strasburg in the rotation, Ross Detwiler, was the best pitcher the Nats had in the playoffs. Some pitchers such as Chris Carpenter and Curt Schilling push their body beyond the point of breaking in the playoffs in search of victory. Both of those players were in twilight of their career. They were not a 24 year old players recovering from surgery.

Feinstein willfully ignores the facts because he made up his mind he is smarter than Mike Rizzo and the Nationals.


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