What do these statistics prove? Nothing. When it comes to predicting injury, statistics tell us nothing because everyone’s body is different, especially when it comes to pitching. Sandy Koufax threw a laser-like fastball and had a knee-buckling curve ball. He was through at the age of 30. Nolan Ryan threw a laser-like fastball and had a knee-buckling curve ball. He pitched a no-hitter when he was 43 and pitched until he was 46.
There’s no science to this—only statistics. Strasburg might be shut down tomorrow and blow his arm out in spring training next year. He also might pitch through October and never be injured again.
Magical seasons aren’t guaranteed. People around here might think the Nats are going to be serious contenders for the next 10 years and they might be right. Of course, when the Washington Capitals lost in seven games to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs, it wasn’t that big a deal because the Caps had this “window” during which they’d win at least a couple of Stanley Cups.
How is that working out so far?
Strasburg may be healthy next year but another one of the young pitchers might not be. Zimmermann might get hurt — again. Gio Gonzalez might not have another great year after the National League has seen him for a full season. Here’s the point: You never know.
The great Earl Weaver always said, “I’ll worry about next year, next year.”
That doesn’t mean the Nats should be callous or careless with Strasburg. It does mean they should be aware that a plan hatched in February when you aren’t certain you’ll contend needs to be recalibrated in August when you have a chance for a very special season.
You certainly don’t worry about what Boras thinks. Anyone who worries that he might not send a future client to the Nats because Strasburg pitches in October hasn’t studied history — not statistics, history. History says Boras will always take the highest bid — period. If the Yankees throw the most money at Strasburg when he’s a free agent in a few years you can bet Boras will tell Rizzo how much he loves and respects him — and tell Strasburg to sign with the Yankees.
As long as Strasburg is still throwing 98 mph and looks completely healthy, he should pitch. Let Boras shop his Kool-Aid and his Alexander Haig, “I’m in charge here,” act somewhere else. Pitching a healthy Strasburg in October is not a betrayal, it’s simply recognizing that circumstances have changed.
Not pitching him is a betrayal: to the pitcher, to the team, to the fans and to the city.
For more by the author, visit his blog at www.feinsteinonthebrink.com. To read his previous columns for The Post, go to washingtonpost.com/