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Braves Vs. Nationals: Stephen Strasburg Shutdown Debate Heats Up After Tuesday's Outing

The debate over what the Washington Nationals should do with staff ace Stephen Strasburg is coming to a head as the right-handed pitcher closes in on the inning limit that was set by team general manager Mike Rizzo at the beginning of the year.

After missing the majority of the 2011 season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, Rizzo and the Nationals understandably want to preserve their ace for future seasons to come. This sentiment was shared in a column by the Washington Post's Editorial Board, which praised Rizzo's willingness to take the ball out of Strasburg's hand.

By shutting down Mr. Strasburg in September and reducing his risk of future injury, Mr. Rizzo - who calls the decision "mine and mine alone" - is making both the admirable choice for Mr. Strasburg and the prudent, if painful, choice for the Nationals.

However, there are individuals on the other side of the argument -- namely Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports -- who believe that the Nationals are a legitimate World Series contender and need Strasburg in order to make an extended post-season run.

This perspective was only further substantiated on Tuesday night when the star pitcher struck out 10 in six innings of work to help propel Washington to a series win over the Atlanta Braves.

Rosenthal expressed this perspective in a sarcasm drenched post on on Wednesday afternoon.

Mercifully, the end is almost near. Strasburg, averaging just under six innings per start, will pitch four or five more times, tops. Then, the Nationals will do the only sensible thing and rip the ball out of his right hand. If his 24 teammates don't like it - if those ingrates think that winning the World Series actually matters - heaven help them.

With Strasburg sitting at 145.1 innings pitched, the 160-180 innings limit is on the horizon and so too may be the end of the young phenom's season.

Head over to Federal Baseball and SB Nation DC for more on the Nationals. Read more on the Braves at Talking Chop and SB Nation Atlanta. And be sure to check out Baseball Nation, your source for news, notes and analysis around Major League Baseball.