Davey Johnson told reporters this afternoon he's constantly receiving suggestions for ways to keep Stephen Strasburg going long enough to pitch in October should the Washington Nationals continue on the current course towards the first playoff berth for a team from the nation's capital since 1933. That's not going to happen, Strasburg pitching in October that is, according to what the Nats' 69-year-old skipper told reporters before the series finale with the Atlanta Braves tonight in Nationals Park. Asked if Ross Detwiler, who goes tonight for the Nats is going to be counted on once Strasburg's shut down, Johnson said, "There's no doubt about it and he's not a bad choice."
Before tonight's outing, Detwiler, the 26-year-old '07 1st Round pick, has put together a strong season, posting a 3.25 ERA and 3.79 FIP with 34 BB (2.51 BB/9) and 75 Ks (5.53 K/9) in 25 games, 19 starts and 122.0 IP. In 108.2 IP as a starter, Detwiler has a 3.48 ERA, a 3.62 FIP, 5.38 K/9 and 2.32 BB/9.
As for how many starts Strasburg has left and how much of a say the Nats' manager has in those plans, Johnson said he doesn't have "a lot" of input...
"I've talked a little bit about it [with Mike Rizzo]," Johnson said, "I think it came out with the off days and whether we need another starter for I think two starts. I think it was two starts, might have been three. I thought it was two." The Nats' manager once again referred to the way the Nationals handled Jordan Zimmermann's shutdown last season, saying it was his only test case for the process. Asked if he knew what the date of Strasburg's eventual shutdown was, Johnson said he did, sort of. "Roughly," Johnson told reporters.
"But it depends on how many innings I let him pitch leading up to it," Johnson continued, "He's been averaging right around six innings. You guys should be able to do the math on that. If you need some help, I'll help you. I don't the innings number is cut in stone. The science is not that exact, so there's a little leeway there. But that's down the road."
Strasburg will know when the last start is though, according to the manager. They'll inform Strasburg the start before his last start. Davey Johnson's not going to do the math for you, but given what he's said, it's not too hard to figure out, nor was it before his comments today. Speculate away, when there's a given date we'll share it.