I make my case for using Stephen Strasburg from the third inning on in my latest for Bleacher Report.
All I a want is to have the best pitcher on the mound late in the game. It is bonkers. It makes sense to ME, but I am strange.
Stephen Strasburg was dominant tonight.
13 strikeouts in 6 innings letting up only 1 earned run.
He got the win but they handed the ball off to the bullpen in the 7th. Why? Because he hit the 100 pitch mark and Washington is still inching him along after his Tommy John surgery.
So in the critical 7th, 8th and 9th innings, where the margin for error is smaller, the Nationals weren’t using their best pitcher.
Now the three relievers they used did the job and the Nats won, but a thought plopped into my brain.
If you know that Strasburg is on a tight leash, why not set up the game so he is pitching deeper into it?
In other words, on his scheduled games, have a reliever throw innings 1 and 2. Maybe a left hander or someone who pitches completely differently than Strasburg. Perhaps even a pitcher having his “throw day” goes an inning. Then in the start of the third inning, in comes Strasburg.
He could throw his 100 pitches but now that would last until the 7th or 8th innings.
He warms up like it is a start and you make sure he never comes in before the start of the third.
It might be a bonkers idea, but when my team only has 1 or 2 more swings left, I want my best pitcher on the mound keeping it close.
It’s something that just popped in my head.
OK, that is a 100% lie. It has been stirring in my head since 1999.
I remember when the Red Sox beat the Indians in the clinching the 1999 Division Series.
Pedro was from another planet he was so good that year but left Game 1 with an injury. Nobody was sure if he was available for Game 5. The Red Sox started Saberhagen and Lowe who were both rocked.
Pedro Martinez entered the game in the 4th. It was already 8-8.
Pedro then threw 6 no hit shutout innings. The Red Sox won and Pedro was on the mound to clinch it.
With their bullpen worn out and the starters totally ineffective, the Red Sox were able to have the best pitcher in the Solar System pitching in the late innings.
And I’ve been thinking in the 13 seasons that have passed “Why don’t more teams do that?”
Especially when it is a super talented pitcher on a short leash.
You still get to monitor the innings but the best pitcher throws deeper into the game. If the reliever coughs up a run, there are 7 innings to make up for it rather than one or two.
It makes sense to me.
Which is why it is probably totally illogical.
Either way, I wanted my thoughts on the matter recorded before it becomes the new trend!
One time Baltimore Oriole and Tampa Bay Devil Rays outfielder Danny Clyburn was shot dead this week in South Carolina. Police are investigating the murder.
Virtually every single article on line about Clyburn is now about his murder and no doubt more will be written as facts come to light.
Clyburn played 41 games in the majors. Chances are that’s 41 more games than you ever played in the Show.
And today, instead of focusing on the tragedy, let’s look at his greatest moment on the field.
On April 11, 1999 the lowly Tampa Bay Devil Rays were playing the Boston Red Sox in St. Petersburg. The D-Rays jumped ahead to a 4-0 lead against Pat Rapp but Wilson Alvarez , Esteban Yan and Rick White couldn’t hold it.
Jeff Frye’s 2 out RBI single in the 7th tied the game and it became a battle of the bullpens.
In the 8th inning the Devil Rays sent up three seasoned veterans to face Red Sox reliever Derek Lowe. Jose Canseco, Fred McGriff and Wade Boggs all batted that inning. Lowe retired each of them.
But sandwiched between McGriff and Boggs, Lowe had to pitch to Clyburn.
He responded with a 2 out solo home run to give the Devil Rays a 5-4 lead.
Roberto Hernandez pitched the 9th inning, striking out Nomar Garciaparra to end the game.
I don’t remember that game specifically but no doubt I followed it somehow. (Probably on an AOL Sports ticker in 1999.) And chances are I said “Damn it. We got beat by Danny Clyburn? Are you kidding me?”
For at least one night Clyburn was not only a big leaguer but a clutch slugger in a line up filled with All Stars and a future Hall of Famer.
And I hope he is remembered more for that homer than whatever details surface from this investigation.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Clyburn.