Bob Nightengale, of USAToday was a guest on the Holden and Danny Show Tuesday on 106.7 FM and demonstrated his ignorance towards the Washington Nationals and the Strasburg shutdown last year. He continues to perpetuate two myths that at this point are willful negligence.
Holden: Didn’t Rizzo say they were going to throw him (Strasburg) out there for his next start?
Nightengale: That goes against what they did last year. If you are going to baby him last year, you better keep it up and not take any chances.
There is this 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 Giolato. The only people treating Strasburg different are the willfully uninformed national media like Bob Nightengale. The Nats are remarkably consistent.
Nightengale: How many times do you have a chance to win the World Series? If Strasburg was around the whole year the Nationals would have had a good chance of ending up with that World Series.
This is the most annoying belief of the national sports media. It assumes that Strasburg is pitching at his peak and starts game one and five of the NLDS and leads the Nats to victory. This assumption forgets that a 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 is 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 no return in the playoffs in search of victory. Both of those players were in twilight of their career, not a 24 year old players recovering from surgery.
One last thing. I am disappointed that Holden and Danny didn’t challenge Nightengale on his willfully uninformed opinions. Those two know better.
- GM: Strasburg’s arm OK, expected to start (espn.go.com)
- HBT: Strasburg dealing with forearm tightness (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- Strasburg has forearm tightness (wyff4.com)
- Stretching the Field: No need to fret with Strasburg (bnd.com)
- Stephen Strasburg injury examined after loss to Atlanta (wjla.com)