The Nationals' decision to shut down Stephen Strasburg just as they hit the stretch run already has started gaining steam as one of baseball's major second-half story lines. The All-Star Game broadcasters discussed it as Strasburg pitched his inning. "SportsCenter" is running charts detailing how many starts he may have remaining. It is a topic tailor-made for talk radio and debate shows. Everyone has a take.

The person with the most qualified opinion resides in the Nationals' clubhouse, just one locker down from Strasburg himself. Jordan Zimmermann made his final start last year on Aug. 28*. After he had thrown 161 1/3 innings in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, the Nationals shut him down. Under far less scrutiny and with exponentially lower stakes, Zimmermann went through what Strasburg is about to experience.