Over the weekend, The Post published a Strasburg column by John Feinstein, which included this line: “There’s no guarantee the Nationals would have won this series or the World Series if Stephen Strasburg’s season hadn’t been shut down more than a month ago.”
This is a sentiment I agree with, inasmuch that there’s no guarantee that anything in sports would or wouldn’t happen if anything else would or wouldn’t have happened, except that I can guarantee Rex Grossman would not have run 76 yards for a touchdown if RGIII had been shut down last week.
Anyhow, sometime between publishing that column and going on his Sirius XM Mad Dog Radio show on Monday morning, things changed for Feinstein, leading to this little speech.
“Even though the Kool-Aid is still being swallowed whole here in Washington, this is a simple fact: If Stephen Strasburg pitches in that series, the Nationals win the series,” Feinstein said. “Because basically they replaced Stephen Strasburg with Edwin Jackson. And Edwin Jackson was a disaster in both Game 3 and Game 5.
“Drew Storen didn’t get the last out; that’s on him. But it’s on the Nationals’ management for not adjusting on the fly — when it became apparent they had a very good team this year — on their Strasburg plan. And also, for allowing Scott Boras to con them into giving Edwin Jackson $11 million to be in the rotation.
“And I went back, and I read Mike Wise’s column, the one we talked about with Boras back in August, and the quote from Scott Boras is that he went to Ted Lerner’s house, and said to him, you had better sign Edwin Jackson – this is an exact quote – because we have a plan for Stephen Strasburg. So Scott Boras conned the owner into giving his then-client 11 million bucks, and that guy had as much to do with the Nationals losing as anybody else did.”
He said a mouthful. Anyhow, moving on, the topic of Jackson came up again, in reference to this passage from a Boswell column.
There’s one theory left to keep the Strasburg chestnut roasting. A few maintain that if Strasburg had kept pitching, Detwiler would’ve moved ahead of Jackson in the Nats rotation. That’s wrong.
Jackson is a postseason experienced righty, who was sharp in his last regular season start and also fanned 10 Cards in an August win. The only mark against him was an awful September start in St. Louis. Detwiler, a lefty (the Cards kill ’em), gave up 12 runs in 71/3 innings in his last two regular season starts. No one ever considered pushing him ahead of Jackson.
So that’s pretty clear. Right? Wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11!!11!!!!
“And I don’t like to pick on Tom Boswell, because I’m totally sincere when I say I respect him totally,” Feinstein said. “But when he says in this morning’s paper that Davey Johnson would have pitched Edwin Jackson over Ross Detwiler if he had Strasburg available, what Kool-Aid is he drinking?
“Would anybody who knows anything about baseball send Edwin Jackson to the mound this year in a clutch situation over Ross Detwiler?” Feinstein asked. “Just look at the results. Look at the results. Detwiler didn’t give up an earned run. Jackson was brutal. Jackson pitched to a 7.50 ERA in two appearances in this series, which is about the same as his postseason ERA was before this series.
“So there’s no way Davey Johnson – who I think’s a pretty savvy baseball guy, even though I don’t understand why Jackson was in that Game 5 – sends Jackson to the mound over Ross Detwiler. So let’s eliminate that Scott Boras-Mike Rizzo excuse right away.”
It occurs to me while typing all this that the great thing about never expressing an opinion means never being wrong.