Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg will make his final home start of the season on Friday against the Miami Marlins. The right-handed starter is expected to make his final start of the season five days later, on Sept. 12 in New York against the Mets.
Strasburg is being shut down in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, which replaced a ligament in his elbow two years ago this month. If he tosses six innings in each of the his final two starts, he will finish the season at 168 1/3 innings. Last season, Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann, in his first full season returning from Tommy John surgery, tossed 161 1/3 innings. While Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo has said each pitcher is different, the way Zimmermann was handled was a model for Strasburg.
Much has been written, opined and debated about Strasburg’s shutdown. But Friday is a chance to, for one final time this season, put it all aside and watch the right-hander pitch and display once again what he is able to do with a baseball. And the Marlins may be just the team for that. Of division opponents, Strasburg has dominated the Marlins more than others. He is 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA in 23 innings over four starts this season — and that’s despite enduring one of the worst starts of his career against the Marlins when he faced them last week.
Nationals Manager Davey Johnson said he doesn’t think Strasburg, who has been relatively mum on the matter, will approach Friday’s start any differently than others just because it’ll be his last before the home fans.
“He’s all-in,” Johnson said. “Every time he goes out, he’s committed to be the best he can be. He probably puts that standard higher than I like it. So I don’t see him [ramping] down to the last one off two, going at it any harder or any softer.”
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