Though Stephen Strasburg threw just 22 pitches in his start on Wednesday night, Davey Johnson does not expect to adjust his rotation to let the right-hander pitch on Sunday.
Johnson said things can still change, but at this point he is looking at Ross Ohlendorf as the likely choice to face the New York Mets.
“I haven’t talked to [Steve McCatty], but we’ll probably stay with Ohlendorf on Sunday,” he said.
Strasburg wasn’t thrilled with the idea of pitching a day early when asked about it after Wednesday’s game, saying the team should just “keep it going.” After sleeping on the idea, Johnson also doesn’t see the need to change things during what has become the team’s best stretch of the 2013 season.
There is also Strasburg’s personal routine to consider.
“It’s changing what he’s used to,” Johnson said.
During Wednesday’s rain delay - one that lasted 1 hour, 12 minutes in total – Strasburg felt tightness in his back. It isn’t considered serious, but was a factor in the Nats pulling him from the game. Strasburg has little experience with rain delays and Johnson thinks that may have played a role in the minor injury.
Several minutes into the delay on Wednesday, pitching coach Steve McCatty asked Strasburg what he has usually done in the past to stay warm while waiting. He said he’d never been in one.
“He still hasn’t been in the major leagues that long,” Johnson said. “All those little things he hasn’t had to deal with. And he’s a perfectionist, every little thing has to be perfect. That’s all part of getting experience.”
Johnson is aiming to use Ohlendorf on Sunday, but he left open the possibility Tanner Roark makes the start. Another Nats reliever with the endurance and stuff to be a spot starter, Roark is the longman if needed Thursday night with Gio Gonzalez on the mound. If Gonzalez pitches deep into the game, Johnson may keep Roark in mind for Sunday.
“Hopefully Gio throws a gem and hopefully we score a bunch of runs,” Johnson said.