Stephen Strasburg to make two or three more starts


Nationals manager Davey Johnson broke the news to Stephen Strasburg on the plane ride home Monday: the 24-year-old right-hander will “probably” make just two or three more starts this season.

Johnson says he has a “pretty firm plan” for Strasburg, but it’s based on how many innings the right-hander pitches in his next starts. Strasburg is currently at 150 1/3 innings. Speculation all year is that he’d be shut down once he reached 160 innings.

Strasburg is slated to make his next start at home against the Cardinals on Sunday. His final outing will probably come at home against the Marlins on Sept. 7 or on the road in New York on Sept. 12.

The Nationals will likely plug John Lannan into Strasburg’s rotation spot. Assuming that they hold on to win the NL East, they could use a rotation with a top three of Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson in October. Ross Detwiler would be favored over Lannan for the fourth spot.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.