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Blown Opportunities to Preserve Stephen Strasburg's Innings into October

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Blown Opportunities to Preserve Stephen Strasburg's Innings into October
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It's a date.

Following Sunday's victory against the Cardinals, one in which Stephen Strasburg threw six innings of scoreless baseball, Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson finally revealed to the world when his ace's season would reach it's abrupt ending. Via ESPN:

"I think two starts, unless I let him pitch 10 (innings) in the next one out, which I'm not going to do. I think his last start will be on the 12th."

This comes as no surprise to anyone who is a fan of the game, as the Nationals, mainly GM Mike Rizzo, have been telling people virtually all season that Strasburg would be on a strict innings limit, and when they felt he was done, that was it.

Always the competitor, Strasburg was predictably not on the same page as his manager, telling reporters after the game, ""I am going to fight with him to the end. That is all I got to say" (via Yahoo! Sports).

While it's understandable why the Nationals are playing it safe with the most valuable asset in the organization, taking Strasburg out of the equation as the team prepares to not only win their first division title, but make a run toward a World Series appearance, simply didn't have to happen.

Here's how the Nationals could have preserved his arm while giving the team the best chance to succeed in October.

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