We all remember how Monday night went down; the popcorn was popped, the kids were in bed, and you were all set for a little late night, west coast, Stephen Strasburg/Clayton Kershaw action. Then, the news broke that Strasburg wouldn’t be making his start due to “upper back tightness” and ruined the whole thing. Your shouts of dismay spilled the popcorn and woke the children. It was chaos.
Even Vin Scully was inconsolable, dropping a casual burn on a theater production understudy in the process.
“I don’t know, you come to the ballpark tonight and it would be like going to the theater on Broadway and just before the curtain comes up, a gentleman comes out and [says], ‘ Rex Harrison will not be performing tonight in “My Fair Lady.” John Brown will take over.'”
But those days are behind us. Strasburg has apparently loosened his back enough to feel confident about making his next scheduled start.
The first member of the Washington rotation to miss a start this season, Strasburg will be going on six days’ rest, thanks to a serendipitous off day in the Nationals’ schedule. Then, he would face the Brewers in Milwaukee for a Sunday matinee. Strasburg is sporting a 2.90 ERA through 14 starts this season, logging 118 SO and 24 BB in 93 IP. His success—and that of many Nationals starters—has been most helpful as Washington runs away with the NL East in the midst of the Mets’ free fall.
Nationals fans need not be too concerned—or, more concerned than they generally are of Strasburg’s health on a day-to-day basis—as the 27-year-old’s back tightness was said to not be related to any of his other upper back-related health issues experienced in the last year.
Last season, Strasburg twisted his ankle in spring training. Then he felt tightness in his back, which he and the Nationals later concluded resulted from compensating around the ankle. Strasburg also had a cyst removed from his upper back this offseason, though he said this discomfort is “totally different” from all that, and just “caused some spasms.”
Strasburg has stressed that the precautions being taken are more to avoid the issue becoming long-term than indicative of its severity.