Finally, an outsider’s opinion on Stephen Strasburg’s shutdown which makes sense to me.
Asked before today’s game about the Nationals’ decision to shut down their ace, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen went all Ozzie Guillen on reporters.
“It’s nobody’s (bleeping) business what they do with Strasburg,” Guillen said. “That’s between Washington, Strasburg and the team.
“Do they need him? Yes. But the four guys they have behind him are (bleeping) good, too.”
Is it really possible that of all the people who chimed in on this topic the past few months that Ozzie Guillen is the one restoring a bit of order?
The last time Strasburg faced the Marlins, just 11 days ago, he got touched up for seven runs on nine hits over five innings.
Davey Johnson remembers that outing. And he’s sure Strasburg does, as well.
“I know he’s fully aware of the bush-whacking he got last time,” Johnson said. “So they may not be as comfortable up there (this time).”
The Nationals’ ace will be on the mound tonight, but a good portion of Johnson’s pregame session with reporters concerned a guy who has made just four starts with the team this season.
Johnson watched Chien-Ming Wang throw a bullpen session today and came away incredibly impressed with what he saw.
“That’s the best I’ve seen him since spring,” Johnson said. “He was outstanding. A great ‘pen. I was pleased with that.
“He kept the ball down. Velocity was strong as a bull. Good breaking ball, good changeup. Good four-seamer, good two-seamer, good command. Impressive.”
Johnson hadn’t seen Wang throw in person in quite a while; the righty’s last outing with the Nats came all the way back on June 30. He missed 58 games while on the DL with a hip strain since then, and his numbers during rehab starts haven’t exactly been what the Nats or the veteran righty had hoped for.
Over his last 10 rehab outings, Wang went just 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA and a .321 batting average against. But those stats don’t concern Johnson, who clearly will put a lot of weight on what he saw today.
“If he was throwing like he threw today, it’d have been off the charts,” Johnson said. “I think a lot of it down there is probably trying to overthrow, trying to do too much. He started his ‘pen today, he was overthrowing everything. Very competitive pitcher. Very driven. When he got settled in and didn’t try to overthrow ... great movement, great location. Off the charts.”
Johnson shied away from outlining a definitive plan for Wang, but did say that he could see himself calling on the sinkerballer sometime over the season’s final month.
“I wouldn’t have any qualms at all about starting him or easing him out of the ‘pen,” Johnson said.
One final note: The Nationals haven’t heard anything from the league office yet about yesterday’s benches-clearing incidents with the Cubs. The team will have to wait and see if reliever Michael Gonzalez, who was ejected the second time the benches emptied, will be suspended.