"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."
If he smells okay, he can probably still pitch.
"We want Stephen to pitch left-handed," said Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. "We are confident a pitcher of his natural ability can be more than effective with his off hand."
Before the season began, the Nationals vowed to limit Strasburg's innings to protect the right elbow that underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010. Yet it's unlikely team management expected the Nationals to have the best record in baseball or that their protective approach would seriously hurt the franchise's first bid at a World Series title thanks to willingly losing the staff ace in early September. Many have criticized Rizzo for sticking to the plan.
"I don't think you change your decisions just because circumstances change," said Rizzo. "Medical professionals back me up on this. For example, every day I put on SPF 100 sunscreen, regardless of whether or not it's sunny or rainy or winter or even if it's nighttime. How could I look at myself in the mirror if I protected a great young man like Stephen Strasburg less than I do my own skin?"
"We're still evaluating the situation with Stephen," said Rizzo. "But as of now, nothing has changed. He will detonate in a little over two weeks."
The Nationals decided to strap a bomb to their franchise pitcher "to protect him."
"He is coming off of arm surgery and we didn't want him to pitch too many innings," said Rizzo. "We considered putting an innings limit on him, but we knew he would want to pitch beyond that and if we found ourselves in playoff contention that we might also be tempted to let him pitch the whole season. But then we thought of the bomb idea. This makes sure Stephen doesn't pitch more than he should."
Strasburg says he has tried to disarm the device that is strapped to his back.
"I want to keep pitching," he said. "More than that, I don't want to die. But I went to San Diego State and didn't even graduate. I don't know what I'm doing. It just looks like a bunch of wires to me."
Maybe people would learn his name if he wasn't on a pitch count.
"We had high hopes for the team this year, but they are exceeding even those expectations," said Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo of his first place club. "We believe we can compete for a World Series title this year, and we want to do it with Stephen at our disposal. Yet we want to protect his arm, too."
So Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson have hit on an idea that will allow them to give Strasburg heavy innings even deep into October.
"Soft-tossing. We've told him that if any pitches crack 70 mph on the radar gun, he's getting pulled," said Rizzo. "But now that he's exerting almost no effort out there, we feel we don't need to put an innings or pitch count on him. I don't know why we didn't think of this before."
Strasburg tried out the new approach in his latest start and got knocked around by the lowly Padres, giving up four runs on seven hits in four innings his worst performance of the season.
Picture Stephen Strasburg KKK Jersey
Baseball is very American, so it's probably quite popular among the white supremacists.
Minor league baseball: the greatest baseball.
Maybe people would go to Nationals games if they got some cowboy monkeys.