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!