Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 10/9/12
The Nationals are tied with the St. Louis Cardinals through two games, and once again the Stephen Strasburg shutdown controversy has reared its ugly head. Strasburg was left off the Nationals' roster for the NLDS, with the team sticking to its guns after deciding to shut down their ace at 160 innings a year removed from Tommy John surgery. With the series shifting back to D.C., however, it's hard not to imagine what good position Washington would have been in if they still had their ace left to pitch. Legendary pitching coach Leo Mazzone, who made his reputation coaching the likes of Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine with the 1990s-era Atlanta Braves, is among those who believe that the Nats made the wrong decision in shutting down the 24-year-old. Leo Mazzone: What the Nationals did with Strasburg is the dumbest thing I've seen in my baseball life, and I hope they pay the price for it. — Tim McKernan (@tmckernan) October 9, 2012 It's a strong sentiment, but one that many around the league are likely to share. After all, an opportunity to win a World Series is a rare one, and the Nationals appear to be taking it a bit for granted by not taking an all-in approach with their young starter. Then again, if Strasburg goes on to lead the Nats to a World Series win later in his (hopefully healthy) career -- or, should they storm to a championship now without him -- then all's well that ends well. For now, baseball fans will have to just wait and see, while the debate continues to rage on.

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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