Stephen Strasburg is making the Washington Nationals' decision to shut him down at some point this season harder with every good start he turns in.
He did it again in Tuesday's 4-1 win over the Braves, a victory that stretched Washington's lead over Atlanta to seven games in the National League East.
"It's great to be playing for something," Strasburg said. "I think you ask any of the guys in here. We're in it together."
The Nationals appear likely to stop Strasburg somewhere between 160 and 180 innings although they still haven't said when for sure. He's at 145 1/3 innings after Tuesday's six-inning effort.
Strasburg struck out 10 and walked just one as he once again showed he's the stopper. He keeps giving Washington strong efforts in almost every start, pitching like a veteran that most teams can't figure out how to hit.
The question now is going to be what the Nationals are going to do with Strasburg -- and when they'll do it.
If they do shut him down, GM Mike Rizzo will hear about it long and loud. Rizzo thinks that stopping him from pitching longer now, in Strasburg's first full season back after Tommy John surgery, is the right move for the future.
The Nats did this last year with right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, a move that worked out nicely this season. But the circumstances were different then. How hard will it be for the Nationals to find major success in the postseason with Strasburg merely a spectator?