There is a controversy brewing around the limit placed on how many innings Stephen Strasburg is being allowed to throw for the Nationals as the MLB season heads into the final stretch. The Nationals young ace looks to be shut down within the next month after throwing between 160 and 180 innings. There is no exact number, but General Manager Mike Rizzo has been serious all year about an innings limit for Strasburg and he isn’t wavering on the matter due to the fact that Washington is in the hunt for a playoff berth. Leo Mazzone made his name in baseball by having a reputation as one of the best pitching coaches. He helped develop all-star pitchers such as Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Greg Maddux to name just a few. Mazzone isn’t happy that the Nationals are shutting down Strasburg in the midst of a pennant race.
Leo Mazzone joined 95.7 The Game in San Francisco with The Rise Guys to discuss his disagreement with the way the Washington Nationals are handling the Stephen Strasburg innings limit, and how he would approach the handling of Stephen Strasburg’s work load.
How do you feel the Nationals are handling Stephen Strasburg? Do you think they are doing it the right way?
“No I don’t. Not at all. I think it’s absolutely pathetic to be honest with you. I think they have an opportunity to go to the World Series and they have an opportunity to have one of the best rotations in the game with Stephen Strasburg leading the way and to shut him down would be totally ridiculous and I don’t think it has anything to do with arm problems whatsoever.”
What would be your approach with Stephen Strasburg if the Nationals said he is coming up on 160 innings?
“Well what you do is you start him every 5th day and get him ready for the postseason. That’s what you do. But that’s why I am doing radio now and I am not coaching cause they know that is what I would tell them. Let me tell you something we had pitchers when they were young in 1991 okay…Steve Avery and John Smoltz and Pete Smith and Tom Glavine were all kids. They took us to the 7th game of the World Series and they all had great careers. Kent Mercker and Mike Stanton were young and they were in the bullpen and Mercker started some. They both pitched 17 years in the big leagues. We had young guys that took us deep into the season. They had more innings in the postseason then most pitchers have in a regular year.
Here’s another funny story too that I remember. I remember in 1993 when we trying to catch the Giants and we were out in San Francisco and we were 7 and half games out or 8…whatever it was in late July. We are trying to catch him and Steve Avery who was 22 years old at the time already was an MVP of the NLCS and said, ‘Leo we got them now.’ I said, ‘Oh I am glad you said we got them now. Last I looked we were about 7 or 8 out.’ He said, ‘No. John Burkett and Bill Swift are talking about how they pitched 150 innings and they might be getting a little tired. We don’t get going until we got to 150.’ ”