NEW YORK — After the Nationals shut down starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg for the season and playoffs, following through with the plan they believed would protect his health in his first full season after “Tommy John” elbow surgery, Braves veteran catcher David Ross expressed what is a popular opinion among players regarding the unusual situation.
“If you were a teammate, as a teammate they’ve got to be looking at it as, we’ve got a chance to win the World Series,” Ross said of the NL East-leading Nationals. “Obviously they’ve got to have a lot of confidence over there [with the position they’re in]. And especially for a veteran guy like me, I mean I’m not saying I’m the richest guy in the world, but like, I’m not longer playing for [money]. I want to win. I don’t want to be on a losing team. I want to win. And the reason why I’m playing is to get in the playoffs and have a chance to win the World Series.
“I would have a hard time dealing with that [shutting down Strasburg]. I wouldn’t be real happy about it. But as players, we don’t get to make those calls, unfortunately.”
When a reporter said it put Strasburg in a bad position, Ross said, “It puts everybody – there’s not one person that it doesn’t put in a bad position, in my opinion. All his teammates, I’m sure, want him to be pitching. I’m sure his manager wants him to be pitching. And I’m sure he wants to be pitching. You don’t hear much from him; he doesn’t say much. But I don’t see how you could not want to go into the postseason.
“You listen to guys like [St. Louis pitcher Chris] Carpenter and those guys saying, he wouldn’t trade having success this year for what he did last year.”
Carpenter is recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome in his shoulder and hasn’t pitched since the World Series, but still hopes to return should the Cardinals advance to the postseason again.
“Even though probably affected him, he pushed himself really hard, he wouldn’t trade that for anything,” Ross said. “That says a lot about how much it means to pitch well in the postseason and win a World Series.”
Medlen in rare air
Kris Medlen won his sixth consecutive start Saturday and improved to 7-0 with a 0.81 ERA in eight starts since moving from the bullpen July 31. He’s 12-0 with 2.64 ERA in 22 starts since the beginning of the 2010 season, and 13-0 in his last 24 starts going back to 2009.
The only other current major league pitcher with a streak of more than 20 starts without a loss is Jose Contreras, who’s on the Phillies’ 60-day disabled list. He went 17-0 in 24 starts for the White Sox during a span over 2005 and 2006.
The Braves have won 19 consecutive starts by Medlen. The last team to win at least 19 consecutive starts by a pitcher was the 2001 Yankees, who won 20 starts in a row by Roger Clemens.