Stephen Strasburg's season over: Shutdown takes place after 159+ innings

Strasburg pitched in just more than 159 innings in 2012. Photo: Associated Press

Stephen Strasburg's season is over, Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson announced Saturday, ending months of speculation on when the team's standout pitcher would be shut down.

Strasburg season ends after 159.1 innings pitched in 2012 and a day after giving up five earned runs in three innings against Miami on Friday night. While it was previously reported that Strasburg's season would officially end Sept. 12, Nationals Manager Davey Johnson has decided to end Strasburg season now, WTOP's Criag Heist reports.

The Nationals are being very careful with Strasburg, who underwent Tommy John surgery to reconstruct his pitching elbow during his rookie season in 2010.

Though team officials, including Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, continually declined to disclose an official "innings limit" for Strasburg, speculation was that the number was somewhere between 160 and 180 innings.

Despite Friday night's loss, the Nationals still own the best record in the National League. Their magic number to clinch a National League East championship - which is the combined number of victories and Atlanta Braves losses needed to win the division - is 18.

Earlier this week, Strasburg mentioned challenging the impending shutdown date and he seemed a bit shaken up by the news.

"I'm just focused on the next start,” he said. “We're going to have to have a sit down and talk here soon."

Strasburg fanned nine batters, and only gave up two hits, in six innings of work last Sunday against the Cardinals. The Nats made it interesting after he left, before pulling out the 4-3 win. That gave them 81 wins and all but assured the Nationals of their first winning season since moving to the District in 2005.

Though there are fans who are glad there's a plan in place now, there's high hopes for the postseason.

"He needs the rest and the Nationals need to be better in the future, not just now,” says Nationals fan Josh Byman.