Strasburg is coming off of Tommy John surgery last season and the Nationals plan on being very careful with him. For most of the year general manager, Mike Rizzo, has said that Strasburg will be shut down before the season ended. He now says Strasburg will be shut down when he feels he needs to be. Rizzo is relying on some type of intuition for knowing when Strasburg has had enough. Manager Davey Johnson said that Strasburg is probably down to "two or three" starts.
Nationals fans (as few as there are) have reason to be upset about the decision to shut down Stephen. Strasburg has been the leader of a shocking season that has the Nationals in position to make a run in the playoffs. Although the Nationals have other pitchers who have proven they can perform, it is obvious that Washington will not be the same team once Strasburg is shut down.
The Nationals signed Stephen Strasburg to a four year contract worth about $15 million. For this reason, Mike Rizzo has reason to protect his investment. If Rizzo allows him to pitch and he suffers a long term or potentially career threatening injury, the Nationals could be in a lot of trouble financially and on the field.
This season the Nationals attendance has been poor for a team in the position that they are in. When Strasburg pitches, attendance has oddly shown no signs of increasing. If attendance during the home games that Strasburg pitches showed obvious increase, Rizzo may have a differing view on shutting down Strasburg.
Washington National fans have shown no reason for Rizzo to change his mind. The embarrassing attendance for the Nationals plays a larger role in shutting down Strasburg then people think. Either way, the Nationals are in position to make a run in the playoffs. They have decided that they are going to shut down their ace. For the future of the organization and the future of Stephen Strasburg, it is a good move.