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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Nightengale: Nationals despised for sitting Strasburg

Best laid plans.

“We’ll be back,” Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said after they clinched the National League East title, “and doing this a couple more times.”

Hat tip to Hardball Talk.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:33 AM | 153 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals

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   101. spycake Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4263857)
However, it's a large leap to continuously claim that he pulled the number out of his ass.


Given that the binder was likely produced in part or at least directed by Boras, I think Rizzo may have been better off relying on a number from his ass.
   102. SoSH U at work Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4263861)
A "50-page binder" that nobody in the public has seen and that couldn't have informed any 160-IP or similar limit for pitchers coming off of TJ as opposed to any other strategy. There was nothing that could possibly have concluded that one reasonable strategy was better than another (e.g., having him take 2 months off in-season), or even that any strategy was better than letting him pitch, other than the simple fact, known for over a century, that pitchers who are pitching might get injured. As I've said, it would be like having a "50-page binder" on whether God exists.


Isn't there one feller in the middle of this who specializes in the 50-page binder? Maybe he wrote it.



   103. McCoy Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4263868)
Yocum stated that he had discussions with the Nationals and that he felt he was heard, wasn't the one who made the decision, and was supportive of the Nationals' decision. It was a rather bland walk-back statement from him and he stopped talking to the press after releasing that statement.

Dr. Andrews had stated earlier that he was not involved in the process either.
   104. GuyM Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4263872)
Pythag wins aren't wins. Wins are the things that show you belong.

I'm pretty sure that the rules say that being one of the two wild cards, winning the wild card play-in game, and then winning your NLDS means you "belong" in the NLCS.

Now, I don't mind someone wanting, regardless of those rules, to see the two BEST teams in the NL face off in the NLCS. But for that determination you want to look at run differential, or something even more sophisticated. "Most wins" doesn't give you either the letter or the spirit of the law. Seems like a rather idiotic standard.



   105. Chris Needham Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:16 PM (#4263875)
I think the interpretation of Yocum's statements and walkback is that he helped consult with the team to set the rehab framework, but that he wasn't directly involved in the actual timing of the announcement to shut him down. That is, he didn't see Strasburg two days before, and say "it's time." But that the guidelines and rough timelines they had all worked on ahead of time were created by him, Boras and Rizzo.
   106. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4263890)
I'm pretty sure that the rules say that being one of the two wild cards, winning the wild card play-in game, and then winning your NLDS means you "belong" in the NLCS.

The rules say you're "in" the NLCS. The rules, however, are stupid.

Now, I don't mind someone wanting, regardless of those rules, to see the two BEST teams in the NL face off in the NLCS. But for that determination you want to look at run differential, or something even more sophisticated. "Most wins" doesn't give you either the letter or the spirit of the law. Seems like a rather idiotic standard.

It's the right standard. The game is played in 9-inning increments. A team with a higher run differential is not a "better" team than a team that won more games. It's amazing that this simple, fundamental principle flies over the heads of so many people who are so insistent and resolute about nonsense.

   107. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4263892)
However, it's a large leap to continuously claim that he pulled the number out of his ass.


No, it isn't. Why 160? Why not 180? or 190? Or 200? Why not "take 2 months off"? Why not "Sunday starter"?

There is absolutely no evidence that one of these is better than the other -- except, again, for the simple fact that pitchers who are pitching might get hurt.
   108. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4263902)
I think the interpretation of Yocum's statements and walkback is that he helped consult with the team to set the rehab framework, but that he wasn't directly involved in the actual timing of the announcement to shut him down. That is, he didn't see Strasburg two days before, and say "it's time." But that the guidelines and rough timelines they had all worked on ahead of time were created by him, Boras and Rizzo.

It wasn't that strong. Yocum, even in the walkback, never said he helped develop the innings limit. All he said was that he discussed Strasburg from time to time with Rizzo and didn't think the innings limit was a bad idea.
   109. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4263918)
There is absolutely no evidence that one of these is better than the other -- except, again, for the simple fact that pitchers who are pitching might get hurt.

No evidence that you are aware of, yes.

I will state yet again that I am not claiming that there is evidence. A poster here asked for whether Rizzo said he had reasons and I am only stating the facts, not any conclusions.
   110. salvomania Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4263967)
The rules, however, are stupid.


Then maybe around this time of year you should find another sport to follow if you find it so distasteful.
   111. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4264030)
Then maybe around this time of year you should find another sport to follow if you find it so distasteful.

Well, my NHL schedule says they start tonight!

What? Aw, crap.
   112. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4264043)
There is absolutely no evidence that one of these is better than the other -- except, again, for the simple fact that pitchers who are pitching might get hurt.

No evidence that you are aware of, yes.

You're arguing with a guy who thinks there is no evidence for global warming. And he has about as much knowledge of human physiology as he does of climatology. Which is to say none at all.
   113. Spectral Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4264047)
No, it isn't. Why 160? Why not 180? or 190? Or 200? Why not "take 2 months off"? Why not "Sunday starter"?


Rizzo made it clear that it wasn't a hard and fast 160, that it would be from 160 to 180. That it happened to be 160 that they implemented was a result of Strasburg pitching poorly nearly the innings limits and them deciding to wrap it up.

The reason it wasn't two months off or Sunday starter is because they'd decided that he'd be best served by pitching in a normally scheduled fashion, not being shut down for short stints, but having a full winter to recover and come back strong the next year.

Of course no one can know if this will work. That seems an almost unknowable thing, since we're not about to implement a controlled study of performing Tommy John on a large sample size of people and comparing different methods. It's Rizzo's opinion, based on his research and consultation with others, that this the approach to try. I know of no way to get a feel for whether it's a good approach than to try it. It doesn't seem intuitively stupid; as long as they're prepared to scrap it if it doesn't work out well, rather than insisting it must be right, it seems worthwhile to me to try something that hasn't really previously been tried. The results with Zimmermann, so far, have seemed positive (although this means almost nothing).

You're arguing with a guy who thinks there is no evidence for global warming.


If this is true, I'm surely wasting my time.
   114. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:13 PM (#4264073)
That seems an almost unknowable thing,

You don't punt a postseason in exchange for unknowable future benefits. That's where Rizzo's "thinking" breaks down.
   115. Spectral Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:19 PM (#4264098)
I disagree that swapping Strasburg for Detweiler in the postseason is punting. It's a downgrade, and it's one that we can easily quantify, at least in terms of win probability. I don't know that I'm comfortable asserting that it's such a huge downgrade that Rizzo clearly isn't thinking clearly.
   116. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4264103)
Rizzo made it clear that it wasn't a hard and fast 160, that it would be from 160 to 180. That it happened to be 160 that they implemented was a result of Strasburg pitching poorly nearly the innings limits and them deciding to wrap it up.


I doubt that Rizzo just magically happened to stop him at 159 1/3 innings, but even if it's 160-180 the same point holds. They have no evidence for it.

The reason it wasn't two months off or Sunday starter is because they'd decided that he'd be best served by pitching in a normally scheduled fashion, not being shut down for short stints, but having a full winter to recover and come back strong the next year.


Yes. "They decided" this. With no evidence that doing this was worse than doing 160.

Of course no one can know if this will work. That seems an almost unknowable thing, since we're not about to implement a controlled study of performing Tommy John on a large sample size of people and comparing different methods. It's Rizzo's opinion, based on his research and consultation with others, that this the approach to try. I know of no way to get a feel for whether it's a good approach than to try it. It doesn't seem intuitively stupid; as long as they're prepared to scrap it if it doesn't work out well, rather than insisting it must be right, it seems worthwhile to me to try something that hasn't really previously been tried. The results with Zimmermann, so far, have seemed positive (although this means almost nothing).


They have no evidence that one reasonable strategy was better than any number of reasonable strategies that would still have allowed him to pitch in the playoffs. THAT'S why the decision is horrible.

You're arguing with a guy who thinks there is no evidence for global warming.

If this is true, I'm surely wasting my time.


It's not true. He's lying.
   117. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4264119)
Then maybe around this time of year you should find another sport to follow if you find it so distasteful.


And this is why people have come to think lower of you jackass Cardinals fans than even Yankees fans.
   118. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4264120)
It's not true. He's lying.


Who's not, Ray? Who's not?
   119. Spectral Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4264124)
I doubt that Rizzo just magically happened to stop him at 159 1/3 innings, but even if it's 160-180 the same point holds. They have no evidence for it.


If you go back and read everything you can find that Rizzo said, you may find that he was using those numbers as guideposts and then going based on the eyeball test. That's the impression I got from paying very close attention all season. I think the biggest mistake he made was ever telling anyone a number, as it's something everyone (include Strasburg) fixated on, for obvious reasons.

He didn't magically stop him at 159 1/3. He stopped there because the plan was 160-180, and Strasburg got absolutely shelled in his last start. Rizzo decided that it had gotten in Stasburg's head and decided to wrap it up.

Yes. "They decided" this. With no evidence that doing this was worse than doing 160.


I have no idea where this evidence would come from other than someone actually trying each approach. Even that'll only be anecdotal, but it'll still be better than nothing. It seems odd to me to complain that a decision was made without evidence, but decry the only means of gathering evidence that exists. I suppose you could argue that someone else should be the guinea pig.

They have no evidence that one reasonable strategy was better than any number of reasonable strategies that would still have allowed him to pitch in the playoffs. THAT'S why the decision is horrible.


I think this is largely covered by the comment above. I'll agree, though, that framing his workload in such a fashion that he could have started in the playoffs seems like it'd be the correct move.
   120. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4264145)
I'm not getting into a global warming discussion here. Suffice to say that I've always agreed that global warming is happening. The disagreement is over the causes and the proposed solutions including their cost.

That's the final word I'll say on it.
   121. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4264146)
They have no evidence that one reasonable strategy was better than any number of reasonable strategies that would still have allowed him to pitch in the playoffs. THAT'S why the decision is horrible.


But consider the long view! This could provide evidence for future decisions of this nature. Not great evidence, admittedly, but if Strasburg gets tendinitis next year (or pitches with no problems until he's 40), this would be a valuable addition to what we know about pitcher injuries.

If people don't try something crazy, you never get progress.
   122. GuyM Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4264153)
I understand the perspective of people who admire Rizzo for sticking with a decision that was bound to be very controversial. And I get the perspective of people who think Rizzo made the wrong call, and wish he allowed Strasburg to keep pitching. Both are quite reasonable positions. What I don't get is feeling passionately that Rizzo could not possibly have made a reasonable decision here (a conclusion which it is literally impossible for any outsider to reach with any certainty), and feeling that it's important to state this conclusion again and again and again. Very weird.....
   123. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4264154)
Yes. "They decided" this. With no evidence that doing this was worse than doing 160.

I have no idea where this evidence would come from other than someone actually trying each approach.


Yes. And that's the entire point. That's why they don't have evidence, even if they have a 50-page binder, even if they have a 5,000-page binder. The evidence does not exist. And we would need many samples of it, in any event.
   124. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4264166)
What I don't get is feeling passionately that Rizzo could not possibly have made a reasonable decision here (a conclusion which it is literally impossible for any outsider to reach with any certainty), and feeling that it's important to state this conclusion again and again and again. Very weird.....


Like your insistence that Jeter is such a bad fielder that a SS with a peg leg could have fielded better?

And the "insider/outsider" dichotomy is meaningless. No insider could have the information. The data points simply do not exist.
   125. Spectral Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4264176)
Yes. And that's the entire point. That's why they don't have evidence, even if they have a 50-page binder, even if they have a 5,000-page binder. The evidence does not exist. And we would need many samples of it, in any event.


I don't get it... isn't that what I just agreed to? I don't think we disagree on the evidence here (or lack thereof). Rizzo's got a plan that he thinks works, based on some expert consultation, some personal opinion, and a very tiny data point in Zimmermann's health and velocity. I think his rigidity with it could easily be a mistake, but I don't think trying something new is the worst thing ever. We have a long and storied history of pitching careers going down the drain; shouldn't every baseball fan be happy that teams are trying things out?
   126. Ron J2 Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:44 PM (#4264192)
#118 Ray expects everybody to have followed his fairly recent change of position of global warming. Best I can tell it's now, probably real, not worth doing anything about.
   127. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:48 PM (#4264201)
We have a long and storied history of pitching careers going down the drain; shouldn't every baseball fan be happy that teams are trying things out?


No. Baseball fans want to go to war with their best horses in the playoffs. If Rizzo had evidence that his plan was better than other plans that would have allowed Strasburg to participate, that would be one thing. But shooting yourself in the foot when you're throwing things against the wall and hoping they stick is a completely different story.

And you can call doctors "experts" but that is misleading because their expertise is limited to diagnosing injuries, performing surgery, and consulting on when a pitcher is healthy enough to begin rehabbing or return to the mound. They have absolutely nothing to add on the subject of whether 160 is better than Sunday Starter is better than take July and August off.
   128. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 03:59 PM (#4264231)
To follow up on my post 127, you would need several samples of pitchers around Strasburg's age coming off of TJ and doing something like:

* 160
* 180
* 200
* no limit (>200)
* Sunday Starter
* Take July/August off

You would need several samples in each category, and you would need to follow them 10 years out to see how they did.

Does this magical 50-page binder have that?

It really is time to stop pretending that Rizzo has information that he can't possibly have. It's time to stop pimping this bizarre "insider information" angle. We know he doesn't have it, because we know he can't have it. Not even if he has a binder and consulted with "experts" who also don't have it.
   129. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: October 11, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4264247)
It's time to stop pimping this bizarre "insider information" angle. We know he doesn't have it, because we know he can't have it. Not even if he has a binder and consulted with "experts" who also don't have it.

I do agree with you that the data doesn't exist to allow Rizzo to make a decision based on sound research. That said, and as pointed by Keith Law today in his podcast, I think Strasburg's medical information could count as insider information which could speak to the decision on whether to shut him down or not.
   130. Ron J2 Posted: October 11, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4264256)
Ray, they can't have certainty -- or anything approaching it.

But I think it's a mistake to hold out for certainty. It does seem to me that you can approach this from an actuarial POV. I'd do ithe study myself, but I'm not aware of a database that has the info I'd need. Specifically a list of pitchers who've had TJ surgery.
   131. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: October 11, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4264271)
I'd do ithe study myself, but I'm not aware of a database that has the info I'd need. Specifically a list of pitchers who've had TJ surgery.

I don't think there is enough data to form a reliable database. Sure tons of pitchers have had TJ surgery since its invention, but it's about a finding a critical mass of players who are similar to Strasburg. For example, that means kicking out relievers or old players from the sample.
   132. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: October 11, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4264272)
To follow up on my post 127, you would need several samples of pitchers around Strasburg's age coming off of TJ and doing something like:

* 160
* 180
* 200
* no limit (>200)
* Sunday Starter
* Take July/August off

You would need several samples in each category, and you would need to follow them 10 years out to see how they did.


Yes, you would need a large number of data points, of which Strasburg is only one. Journey of a thousand miles, single step, and so on. We'll never increase are pool of knowledge if people don't do things like this.
   133. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4264298)
Ray, they can't have certainty -- or anything approaching it.

But I think it's a mistake to hold out for certainty. It does seem to me that you can approach this from an actuarial POV. I'd do ithe study myself, but I'm not aware of a database that has the info I'd need. Specifically a list of pitchers who've had TJ surgery.


I don't need certainty or near-certainty; I _would_ hold out for solid evidence, though.

That aside, you'd also need data points to fill up some of the categories I mentioned, or if you don't like these, then pick your own:

* 160
* 180
* 200
* no limit (>200)
* Sunday Starter
* Take July/August off


I'm particularly skeptical that we'd find a lot of pitchers being stopped at 160 or thereabouts. I suppose some of them could have started their season late and stopped there. How many?

And I'm confident we'll find almost no pitchers in the last two categories or similar categories. And that's a big problem for Rizzo, because one of the main criticisms of him is that he has no evidence that his plan would work better than other reasonable plans - such as taking two months off - that would have enabled Strasburg to pitch in October.
   134. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4264311)
Yes, you would need a large number of data points, of which Strasburg is only one. Journey of a thousand miles, single step, and so on. We'll never increase are pool of knowledge if people don't do things like this.


Rizzo's job is to win baseball games, not to create datapoints for a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
   135. JL Posted: October 11, 2012 at 04:25 PM (#4264322)
They have absolutely nothing to add on the subject of whether 160 is better than Sunday Starter is better than take July and August off.

I am curious about your evidence that Rizzo held out 160 innings as a magic threshold limit. I have never seen or heard that. What I have heard is that they were looking at about 160-180 innings, depending upon how Strasburg ws pitching.
   136. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 11, 2012 at 04:26 PM (#4264326)
That said, and as pointed by Keith Law today in his podcast, I think Strasburg's medical information could count as insider information which could speak to the decision on whether to shut him down or not.

Keith Law pulled that out of the same deep fecal-walled cavern from which Rizzo unveiled The Shutdown.

The paranoid strain in American thought typically imagines "experts" and people in "privileged" conditions taking advantage of information and opportunities that others don't have. The insistence that Rizzo must have some "secret" is in that vein. Strasburg had Tommy John surgery, he rehabbed his elbow, and doctors pronounced him medically sound to undertake the strain of being a major league starting pitcher. He was medically cleared to pitch more than 160 innings and he wasn't shut down for medical reasons.

There's nothing more to it than that. He's no different than the scores of pitchers who've had TJ surgery since TJ. There's no "secret data" and there's no "inside information."

   137. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: October 11, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4264339)
The insistence that Rizzo must have some "secret" is in that vein.

"Must" is a bit strong. I think he's just raising the possibility. To dismiss it is cavalier.
   138. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 11, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4264351)
"Must" is a bit strong. I think he's just raising the possibility. To dismiss it is cavalier.

There's no possibility. No one involved in this sh8tstorm has acted remotely consistently with Law's theory. If medical reasons unique to Strasburg and his surgery limited him to 160 innings this year, we would have heard about it months ago. It's in no one's interest to hide or hoard such information.
   139. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: October 11, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4264384)
There's no possibility.

To suggest that there is NO chance Strasburg might have tweaked something minor during his last few starts is ridiculous.
   140. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: October 11, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4264387)
#118 Ray expects everybody to have followed his fairly recent change of position of global warming.


Yes, I know this. It's still a crazy notion which Ray should be roundly mocked for. Most of the site are not following the OTP thread(s) with bated breath, just waiting to map Ray's miniscule evolutions of pointless detail over time.

Also, the thing where he calls everyone a liar is worthy of skewering itself.
   141. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 04:53 PM (#4264431)
To suggest that there is NO chance Strasburg might have tweaked something minor during his last few starts is ridiculous.


Is there the slightest evidence for this?
   142. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: October 11, 2012 at 05:09 PM (#4264506)
Is there the slightest evidence for this?

That's not the point. We operate under a different information stream when it comes to medical information. Teams simply have more information. Strasburg might have tweaked something and it went unreported. How likely this is the case is separate question. I'm merely contesting the notion that there is NO possibility that this could be the case.
   143. Ron J2 Posted: October 11, 2012 at 05:12 PM (#4264512)
Rizzo's job is to win baseball games, not to create datapoints for a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.


Sure. But he's also paid to balance the short term interests with the long term interests. Shutting down Strasburg early costs them what ... a couple of percentage points (tops) in their pursuit of the WS. (it's not like a complete turkey is taking his place) Balanced against that ... well we can't know precisely what the risk is in allowing Strasburg to pitch more, but such evidence (primarily Craig Wright's work in Diamond Appraised) suggests it's best to be risk adverse with young pitchers and Strasburg already has an injury history.

Now to be clear I agree with everybody who thinks they could have managed his workload more creatively. I like the way Weaver handled the situation in 1969. He had two veterans who went literally every time it was their turn, two talented young pitchers with arm issues in the recent path who rarely went on short rest and Tom Phoebus who filled in as needed.

On the other hand Weaver had room to be creative. A 109 win team loaded with decent options allowed him to try and handle Palmer and Hardin fairly gently (Hardin broke anyhow, which is another chapter in the "pitchers get hurt" story)
   144. salvomania Posted: October 11, 2012 at 05:14 PM (#4264516)
Then maybe around this time of year you should find another sport to follow if you find it so distasteful.


And this is why people have come to think lower of you jackass Cardinals fans than even Yankees fans.


Really? Because I suggest to a guy who keeps complaining about the structure of the MLB playoffs that he then might want to find something else to watch?

Sure, OK, I guess such smug ass-hattery makes me a jackass.
   145. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 11, 2012 at 05:15 PM (#4264518)
That's not the point. We operate under a different information stream when it comes to medical information. Teams simply have more information. Strasburg might have tweaked something and it went unreported. How likely this is the case is separate question. I'm merely contesting the notion that there is NO possibility that this could be the case.

Strasburg was on an innings limit as of the start of the season. How could tweaking something a few weeks ago have caused the shutdown? The theory is silly.
   146. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: October 11, 2012 at 05:19 PM (#4264527)
How could tweaking something a few weeks ago have caused the shutdown?

There is no theory being advanced. However, from a descriptive point of view, the notion that the Nats have more medical information about Strasburg and that information has informed their decision making is a fair point in my opinion.

EDIT: Just to be clear, I suspect Strasburg is perfectly healthy, but I'm not arrogant enough to say with 100% certainty that there is no possibility that his medicals might contains information that suggests shutting him down is wrong.
   147. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4264528)
I am curious about your evidence that Rizzo held out 160 innings as a magic threshold limit. I have never seen or heard that. What I have heard is that they were looking at about 160-180 innings, depending upon how Strasburg ws pitching.


Going back through news reports since July, there are several references to an earlier statement Rizzo made that Strasburg would be shut down at 160 - from ESPN stories, from Craig Calcaterra, etc. (I didn't go back far enough to find that statement, but it's been in my head for most of the season.) Later Rizzo said 160-180, and said it would be based on an "eye test."

For example:

ESPN, July 19th: "Washington, which leads the National League East by 3 1/2 games, had previously set a 160-inning limit for Strasburg, who turns 24 on Friday. That number may no longer apply, but Rizzo told ESPN on Wednesday that he alone will make the call. 'There is no magic number," Rizzo said. "It will be the eye test. [Manager] Davey [Johnson] won't decide, and ownership won't decide. It will be the general manager, and that's me.'

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jspymd=20120719&content_id=35226582&vkey=news_was&c_id=was

But if it was 160-180, it might as well have been 160, as long as Strasburg wasn't going to be allowed to pitch in the playoffs anyway. And really this is all about the playoffs. I wouldn't have criticized a decision to cap Strasburg at 160 IP for a losing team. It's not that capping him per se is the problem - if they're out of it, who cares what they do - it's capping him while shooting yourself in the foot for a playoff run. That requires evidence that this method of protecting him is better than any other reasonable method of protecting him while still letting him pitch in the playoffs, and if you don't have that evidence, then your decision is irrational.

Anyway, I suspect Rizzo said 160 somewhere.

And we have:

1. Zimmermann, 2011: 161.1 IP
2. Rizzo's statement early on that Strasburg would be shut down.
3. Strasburg, 2012: 159.1 IP

And: ESPN, August 16th: "Johnson has said Strasburg could be limited to 160 innings to protect the All-Star's future." http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8270168/washington-nationals-players-question-club-plan-sit-stephen-strasburg

Why people are pushing back hard on the notion that they had a 160-IP limit for him is anyone's guess.
   148. Portia Stanke Posted: October 11, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4264532)


Really? Because I suggest to a guy who keeps complaining about the structure of the MLB playoffs that he then might want to find something else to watch?

Sure, OK, I guess such smug ass-hattery makes me a jackass.


Consider the source.
   149. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: October 11, 2012 at 05:24 PM (#4264533)
Why people are pushing back hard on the notion that they had a 160-IP limit for him is anyone's guess.


I dunno, there certainly is evidence for the belief they had such a limit.

   150. Hank G. Posted: October 11, 2012 at 05:35 PM (#4264550)
Pythag wins aren't wins. Wins are the things that show you belong.


A lot of people didn't have a problem during the season using Pythag wins to claim that Baltimore didn't belong.

I'm not crazy about the current setup. I wasn't that crazy when they added the wildcard, or for that matter when they went to the division playoffs. But increasing the number of playoff games for the increased revenue is the driving factor in all this, and under the rules the Cards are fully qualified to be in the playoffs.
   151. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 05:45 PM (#4264558)
and under the rules the Cards are fully qualified to be in the playoffs.

Sure, and we have every right to root against them b/c of their past lucky World Series wins.
   152. salvomania Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:53 PM (#4265028)
Snapper, because of your rooting interests, I can understand why you might regard any World Series win as lucky.
   153. valuearbitrageur Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:34 PM (#4265166)
The biggest sign you are losing the debate is when you are forced to base your arguments solely on lies.

That the Rizzo ever had or said they had a 160 inning limit lie.

The there is no future benefit to limiting Strasburg's innings lie. It may be small, but it's ludicrous to think it's zero.

The Yocam saying he wasn't involved in the decision lie.

The lie there is no significant correlation between innings counts and injury rates, that uses studies on healthy pitchers instead of TJ surgery recovering pitchers that Rizzo specifically said he studied.

The lie that the Nats not pitching their 3rd best starter in the playoffs makes any sort of big difference, esp. he was barely more valuable than their 4th best starter, and was clearly running out of gas at season's end.

The lie that the Nats could simply rejigger their rotation to put a replacement level starter in every sunday once they "knew" they are making a playoff run in order to rest Strasburg. That's right, you want to make the playoffs so you decide to pitch a terrible starter every sunday to HELP.

The lie that the Nats could have just shut down Strasburg and rested him at any time, WHILE TRYING TO WIN THE EAST AND MAKE THE PLAYOFFS, and restarted him again at any time without any significant increase in injury risk, or more importantly, any significant risk he'd have a series of bad starts until he gets back into form.

The lie that the Nats could have had Strasburg skip the first two months of the season so they'd be sure to have him for the playoffs, when they didn't even know if they'd be competitive, and if they didn't make the playoffs, he'd end up only pitching 120 innings and not ramping to full use next year.

The lie that Rizzo hasn't already done this with Zimmerman, and been hugely successful with the strategy.

And the lie that the Zimmerman experience doesn't mean it's likely Strasburg will be a far better and more valuable pitcher next year ready to pitch deep into the playoffs.

The Rizzo lied, lie.
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