MIAMI -- Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen thinks the Nationals have what it takes to advance to the World Series -- even without ace Stephen Strasburg.
The Nationals have said since Spring Training that Strasburg, who underwent Tommy John surgery two years ago, would be shut down before the end of this season. That means the team with the best record in the Majors, which is likely playoff-bound for the first time since relocating to Washington, will have to try to win it all without one of its All-Star righties in the rotation.
Guillen said he respects the Nationals for sticking to their word from Day 1, and understands them wanting to protect a star player they've invested in -- especially with the importance placed on pitching in today's game. The Marlins skipper also believes Strasburg's absence, when he does eventually get shut down for the year, shouldn't affect Washington's chances come October.
"They're good enough to compete without that kid," Guillen said. "You need three [starters in the playoffs]. I think they can match up with anybody. They can match up with anybody in the National League, any team."
The reason Guillen believes Washington can still succeed without Strasburg? The other four guys in the Nationals' rotation -- Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler.
"This kid is the ace there, but they got four guys out there that can control the situation, too," Guillen said. "I think that's the reason they might do that. They've got four guys that have a lot of confidence, they've got a great bullpen and they're playing well."