One of the dominant stories in baseball this season has been the decision by the Washington Nationals to shut down star pitcher Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg has been one of the best pitchers in the National League this year, but Washington elected to end his season after only 159-1/3 innings pitched in order to, in their minds, preserve his health. The Chicago White Sox faced a similar dilemma with young phenom Chris Sale, but have made the opposite decision.
The White Sox have let Sale continue pitching as the team fights for a playoff berth, even though Sale has had to skip starts in 2012 because of arm soreness. White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper told Yahoo's Jeff Passan that the White Sox have kept pitching Sale because they see no evidence that it will be harmful to him.
"Why paint yourself in a corner if you've got no scientific stuff and nobody's got answers? Nobody does," White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. "We're going to take it upon ourselves to watch it on a daily basis. And we're going to make sure he stays healthy. That's the first goal for our pitchers."
Sale, for his part, is happy that his team has allowed him to continue pitching in the team's race for the pennant.
"It'd be tough," Sale said. "Especially knowing I want to be out there. You always want to do your job. And I feel bad for other guys because in this game there are things out of your control."
As for the Nationals, the team has led its division with breathing room for nearly the entire season, making them better suited to shelve arguably their best pitcher. Nonetheless, these dueling decisions are likely to be compared for seasons to come.