Over the last week or so, the talk about Stephen Strasburg's innings limit has been talked about ad nauseum. The newest tidbit states that Nationals GM Mike Rizzo has vowed that he *won't* continue to let Strasburg throw once his innings limit is reached, playoffs be damned. The limit has also revealed at 180 innings, more than the 160 innings that were rumored before the season. Of course, people are going ballistic about Rizzo's decision, claiming that the Nationals need to go all-in on a playoff run this season, and that flags fly forever and all that.
Rizzo is taking a lesson from the Cubs blowing out Mark Prior and Kerry Wood during their 2003 playoff run, sabotaging Prior's career for good (though he's still attempting a comeback as a reliever at age 31 with Boston, god love him) and turning Wood into a reliever that retired before his 35th birthday. The cases of Wood and Prior are huge warning signs for overuse of any young starter, But for the record...none of the injuries suffered by Prior involved Tommy John surgery, which is what Strasburg is recovering from. The only severe elbow injury suffered by Prior is a fractured elbow when he was hit by a line drive. His main issues came in the shoulder, a much more serious injury that the torn UCL that Tommy John fixes. The same goes for Wood, who had Tommy John surgery in 1999 (and for the record, didn't throw 200 innings in a season until 2002) and after that, didn't have an issue with his elbow until 2007.
But anyway. I'm not here to compare Strasburg to Prior or Wood and whine about his pitch count. I'm here to look at just why the Nationals could end up being just fine without Strasburg in the playoffs once his limit is reached.no comments