On opening day, the game situation dictated Stephen Strasburg leave the game after seven innings. His turn in the lineup came up in the top of the eighth inning, with the Nationals trailing by a run, and so the only choice was to pinch-hit for him.
But Strasburg had only thrown 82 pitches, a light workload after he had a full spring training to build up his arm. Would Strasburg have stayed in the game if his spot in the order didn’t come?
“No,” Manager Davey Johnson said. “I could have, but, early on, seven innings out of my starter? I wouldn’t have let him go eight the first time out.”
The eighth inning Strasburg did not throw Thursday could become an inning he does throw in August. Strasburg, of course, is on a 160-inning limit this year, but Johnson said the restriction will not affect how he uses Strasburg or when he pulls him from the game.
“I’m going to go normally what I would with every pitcher,” Johnson said.