What Strasburg shutdown means in D.C.

September, 8, 2012
9/08/12
3:26
PM ET

Evan Habeeb/US Presswire
Stephen Strasburg will not pitch the rest of the season, even if the Nationals make the postseason.
Stephen Strasburg was shut down Saturday for the rest of the season by the Washington Nationals, the team with the best record and best run differential in the major leagues. The franchise has never appeared in a World Series since beginning as the Montreal Expos in 1969 -- that’s the second-longest World Series-appearance drought among current teams.

A Washington baseball team has played in three World Series, winning one of them (1924), but hasn't reached the World Series since 1933. Overall, Washington baseball teams are just 8-11 in the postseason. The Nationals/Expos franchise is just 5-5 all-time in the postseason, with its only appearance coming in 1981.

In major-league history, Washington baseball teams were 6,131-7,777-141 entering this season -- 1,646 games under .500 with a win percentage of .441. That's lower than the winning percentage of EVERY current major-league franchise during its entire existence.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only nine All-Star pitchers did not pitch for the team in that year’s postseason over the past 40 years, and only one of those teams made it to the World Series. Rollie Fingers suffered an arm injury in 1982 and the Milwaukee Brewers lost the Fall Classic to the St. Louis Cardinals.

For those thinking Strasburg may come back for the postseason, Elias tells us only four pitchers have ever started in the postseason after a layoff of at least 30 days.

Though Strasburg’s numbers are terrific, another Nationals starter entered Saturday as their most valuable pitcher by Wins Above Replacement.

The Nats have Gio Gonzalez at the top of their rotation, and Strasburg actually has the highest ERA among Washington starters since the All-Star break.

Strasburg leads all qualified major league starters in average fastball velocity (95.7 MPH) and all qualified NL starters in K per 9 (11.1 -- trails only Max Scherzer in all of MLB).

He finishes the season with 159 1/3 innings pitched, a career high for one season (amateur and professional combined), surpassing the 138 1/3 he threw back in 2008, at San Diego State and with Team USA.

The Nationals have taken great care of Strasburg’s arm this season he finishes with 2,607 pitches thrown, currently 48th-most in the majors. He only threw 100 pitches in 10 starts, which is tied for 80th.

He ranks 89th in the big leagues in curveballs and sliders thrown (495) and has reduced his breaking pitches from 26% (2010) to 18% (2011-12).

He did pass 250 career innings in his last start, and Elias tells us that no pitcher in the expansion era has had more strikeouts through his first 250 innings pitched than Strasburg’s 313.

Strasburg’s fastball is down from 97.2 MPH in 2010, prior to Tommy John Surgery. He had the fastest average fastball among starting pitchers during his stint in 2010 and still holds that distinction this season.

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