Oct 13, 2012, 6:00 PM EDT
Associated Press photo
Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson will face criticism all winter after the Game 5 loss.
As the throbbing pain of a punch to the gut begins to ease and turn into a mere, lingering black-and-blue mark, the outcome of Game 5 of the National League Division Series begins to take a backseat to the decisions that set it up to happen.
In the immediate wake of their 9-7 loss to the Cardinals, the Nationals and their fans were too consumed with emotion to think rationally about what had just transpired. But with sunrise and a new day comes more perspective and an opportunity to revisit the path that led everything to this soul-crushing juncture.
Here, then, is a look back at some of the toughest decisions Mike Rizzo, Davey Johnson and others made leading up to and during the NLDS…
1. THE STRASBURG SHUTDOWN
It was inevitable: The only way the Nationals could have avoided subjecting themselves to criticism from around the world about their decision to shut down a healthy Stephen Strasburg in early-September was to win the World Series. (And even then, some would have decried Rizzo for denying the right-hander the opportunity toRead more »
NL EAST STANDINGS
WED: Nats at Rockies, 3:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Zimmerman placed on DL with hamstring strain
- Kevin Durant channels Werth, LaRoche in 'beard gang' photo
- Strasburg tries to pitch depleted Nats to sweep
- Nationals have to deal with latest Zimmerman injury
- Adam LaRoche notches three hits, Nats down Rockies
- Zimmermann returns to mound after injury
- Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett also wouldn't mind being traded to the Nats
- Healthy Nationals lineup has become NL's best
- Around the NL East: Are the Phillies on the verge of a fire sale?
- Ian Desmond notches five hits, Nats rock Colorado