by Ross Snow
Following Stephen Strasburg's fourth defeat in his first five starts, general manager Mike Rizzo and members of the Nationals' staff determined it would be in the best interest of Strasburg and the team itself to place a strict limit on the amount of losses the right hander will endure for the remainder of the season.
"We don't have a specific number in mind, but we're thinking somewhere between five and seven," stated Rizzo. "We feel like it's a fair number that allows us to be competitive without shortchanging the fans, Stephen, or ourselves."
"If we want a chance at the playoffs, we obviously need to keep Stephen healthy," he continued. "But more importantly, we need him to stop losing games."
Strasburg's four losses tie him for the league lead and place him just two shy of his career high set last season when he finished at 15-6, leading the Nationals to a 98-64 finish atop the NL East standings. Thus far through the 2013 season, the National are under .500 at 10-11, behind the Braves and Mets in third place.
"All these losses are starting to wear down and take their toll on our record, and obviously our record is very important to us," said manager Davey Johnson. "We care about it. We want it to be strong – not just now, but in the future. So, naturally, limiting the number of losses was the logical choice."
While some may not agree with placing limitations on team's star players, Strasburg seemed on board with his teams sentiments.
"You know, it's really up to the coaches. I trust and value their decisions. Either way, I'm just gonna go out there and play the best I can," said Strasburg. "If they think me not losing will help us win, I'm all for it."
Rizzo also announced he is weighing a limit on the number of runners his team can leave on base per game.