The Strasburg window in 2012 is closing

You might have heard by now that Stephen Strasburg's innings will be limited this season.

If you haven't, flip on one of the talking-head shows on the national networks. I'm sure you can find some intelligent, thought-provoking discussion on the topic there.

Does my sarcastic tone jump off the screen at you? Good.

Strasburg has thrown 133 1/3 innings this season. Despite some of the numbers floating around out there, general manager Mike Rizzo does not have a set limit at which he will take the ball out of Strasburg's hand.

Rizzo has said countless - and I mean countless - times he'll go based on the "eye test" and will shut Strasburg down according to a number of factors (number of innings, number of "stressful" innings, how his arm holds up, etc.).

More than likely, Strasburg will be shut down somewhere in the 160-180-inning range, although no one can say for sure when Rizzo will make the call to pull his ace out of the rotation.

The bottom line here is that we're running out of chances to watch one of the top young pitchers in baseball toe the rubber this season.

Strasburg is tied with R.A. Dickey for the most strikeouts in the National League, despite having worked nearly 30 innings fewer than the Mets knuckleballer. Strasburg ranks seventh in the NL in ERA, is tied for the fifth-most wins in the league and has delivered a quality start in 74 percent of his outings.

This is a special pitcher, one who still is just 24 and has made only 40 starts in his big league career.

Ninty-five percent of the recent buzz about Strasburg has seemingly been related to his shutdown. People across the national sports landscape are aghast at the Nationals' plans for Strasburg, even though this strategy has been laid out and discussed for months.

Today, and for likely just a few more days this season, Strasburg will get a chance to briefly silence all the talk about his innings limit. He'll take the mound this afternoon merely aiming to lift his Nationals to their 73rd victory of the season and yet another series win.

The Strasburg debate will surely pick up again tomorrow, but hopefully it can be put on hold for a few hours today, allowing us all to just enjoy his outing. There won't be many more of them left in the 2012 campaign.

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