Jack Morris criticizes Strasburg shutdown

Jack Morris criticizes Strasburg shutdown
October 17, 2012, 3:30 pm
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Former Twins pitcher and 1991 World Series hero Jack Morris pitched 18 seasons in the majors and worked at least 170 innings in 14 of those years. He knows something about longevity and durability for pitchers.

So on Tuesday he was asked about pitchers Justin Verlander and C.C. Sabathia, how they can be dominant on short rest in the playoffs. Morris answered the question and in doing so looped in Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals.

“I think everybody in the Washington Nationals’ front office should pay attention that guys should go deep into games … when I see CC complete a game two days after Justin did, and I see guys doing it, it reminds me that there’s still hope because — I can say this, Phyllis, and you can’t tell me I can’t say this  I believe the pitch count is overrated. I think the whole thing will come to fruition, the cycle, the experiment, and they will see that there is value in starting pitching to go deep in the games, to help save the bullpen.”

Verlander and Sabathia are great examples of pitchers handling big workloads in the major leagues, but both are very different cases than Stephen Strasburg. Verlander is 29, Sabathia is 32 and neither have undergone Tommy John surgery.

The Nationals and Mike Rizzo are taking the innings limit precaution with pitchers like Verlander and Sabathia in mind. They hope that Strasburg can recover fully from the surgery and someday be as durable as the two aces.

Morris may have a point on pitch counts in general, but it is hard to compare Strasburg and his injury case to the examples he presented. Strasburg, in fact, is hard to compare to anybody directly. It is almost unprecedented in the history of baseball and that’s exactly why it is such a big deal and such a hot debate.