Interestingly (or not, if you don't give two bleeps about the Strasburg Shutdown debate) MASN's Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer went out of their way to trash the Nationals decision to shut down Strasburg during the sixth inning of last night's Orioles/Mariners game. Given the game situation (2 on, 2 out, 1-1 game), it was an odd tangent.
If you're in the "MASN hates the Nats" conspiracy camp, a little more fuel for the fire: is Peter Angelos writing their copy or something? Is there a directive from MASN management to slam the Nats, given the nasty, ongoing stalemate over cable rights fees? Or is it just a couple of guys who were bored with a tie ballgame with playoff implications? Admittedly, we loved the part where Palmer said he texted Davey Johnson in August and told him to trip Stras, give him a leg injury. Here's how we heard it:
And on and on...until Thorne ended the conversation with "It's a sin." And then seemed to wake up and realize that Mark Reynolds was at the plate with 2 on and 2 out in a 1-1 game in the sixth inning of a game with playoff implications.
Thorne: I think it's an abomination that they have removed him. If there's something really wrong, that's one thing. But if they've just taken him out because they've locked themselves into the innings limit, there's no guarantee he'll ever get to the postseason again. There's no guarantee Washington will ever get to the postseason again. And to take him out, the best pitcher, and have that be the number one concern rather than winning and the fans, I just think it's a terrible thing for baseball.
Palmer: And I guess the other side of the coin is, their rationale on the innings - and that's all it is is rationale is 'Well, we want to protect him. We did it with Zimmermann.' But at the end of the day, there were ways they could have minimized the innings.
Thorne: Even in September.
Palmer: Well, I texted Davey Johnson back in August. I said 'Trip him. Give him a leg injury.' ...the bottom line is they're a much better ballclub and they could have minimized the innings some way, he didn't have to pitch five times in April...
(Thanks to reader Andrew for the tip. Screencap via MASN/MLB.com)