When Nationals manager Jim Riggleman first laid out the Nationals' plans for Stephen Strasburg, he hinted the rookie probably wouldn't pitch the first series after the All-Star break. But now, the Nationals might be reconsidering that.
Riggleman said today it's possible Strasburg will pitch in the first series after the All-Star break in Florida. He said there are a number of matchups the team might want to use Strasburg for in the second half, while needing to reduce his workload somewhat so he doesn't hit the team's limit of roughly 100 major-league innings too early in this season.
"We feel like he's a good matchup against anybody, but we feel like there's a couple we really wouldn't want him to miss," Riggleman said. "Depending on if he starts that first series or the second series (against Cincinnati), there's a matchup or two we would not have him in where we feel like he's really got a chance to be successful against a couple particular ballclubs."
Taking a quick guess here--if the goal is to have him face the Marlins, an aggressive, fastball-hitting lineup that could struggle with Strasburg's slider, there could be some benefit to having him face the Brewers and Phillies in July for the same reasons. But they could also be targeting that first series more because of who it'd allow him to face later than the fact he'd face the Marlins, so I'm just throwing that out there for now. We should have a better sense of Strasburg's post-break schedule in a few days.