- Strasburg pitched terribly in his last home appearance of the year and then was shut down a game early.
- His supposed replacements, Ross Detwiler and Edwin Jackson, had bad starts themselves, bringing up questions of how the supposed strength of the Nats, starting pitching, will hold up down the stretch and into the playoffs
- Oh yeah, they lost two of three to the Marlins while the Braves swept and are now up by 5.5. That's still too far to get concerned about (if the Nats lose 2 games in the standings to the Braves before their upcoming series AND get swept by the Braves in said series - they are STILL in first) but it returns them to the back of the mind at a time when distractions are most unwelcome.
Other SHUTDOWN thoughts
As I've said before I think the shutdown is the most logical move for a Nats franchise trying to maximize wins over the course of the Strasburg contract. However, there are good reasons to keep pitching him that go beyond macho bull.
While the national media has example after example of guys that demand Strasburg keep pitching, the local media all seems to side with the Nats. Even the fanbase is taking it relatively well. Dr. Gordek, Armchair Psychologist, thinks that the local populace seeing Rizzo turn this team around so quickly might be inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt on all his moves where the national media is only popping their head in here occasionally and doesn't have the same feelings toward Mike. Also, Dr. Gordek adds, that the newness of the team may add a bit of a cushion to this blow that people who have been fans of teams for decades might find difficult to understand. There is no life-long Nationals heartbreak, only a depressing 5 years of bad play. It is extended lack of success that creates the most urgency.
The Davey/Strasburg dynamic is not working well. Strasburg seems like the type that thinks he should be perfect all the time and along with taking it out on himself, he'll go through the other reasons why he may not have been successful. Davey is a let them play manager who doesn't want to hear any of it. That's not a problem in itself, but he'll also express this to the media which has created a kind of spotlight effect on every poor start. Is he going to say anything other than "I pitched bad"? If so there's a small but growing section of fans that will jump on it. There's no need for it to have gotten even to this mild point. If keep it in the clubhouse is the rule for the players (see Lannan, John) it needs to be the rule for the manager too.