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Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann 1-2 in Nats' playoff rotation

Manager Davey Johnson has decided on the pitching rotation for the first two games of the Washington Nationals' first playoff series, with Gio Gonzalez slated for the opener and Jordan Zimmermann in Game 2. The rest is still yet to be determined.

Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

With the NL East locked up, Davey Johnson has decided – for the most part – on the Washington Nationals pitching rotation for the NLDS: Gio Gonzalez will start the first game, and Jordan Zimmermann will start the second.

That order makes sense, as Gonzalez has undoubtedly been the team's ace among the pitchers still available for the playoffs, leading the team in ERA, WHIP, strikeouts, and earning 21 wins. Zimmermann is second in ERA and WHIP.

For the third game, things get more complicated. With several potential first-round opponents still in play – it will be the San Francisco Giants if the Nats finish with the second-best record in the National League, but the winner of the Wild Card game between the Atlanta Braves and a team almost guaranteed to be the St. Louis Cardinals if they don't – Johnson will decide between Ross Detwiler and Edwin Jackson for when the Nationals return to Washington for Game 3. Jackson is a righty, and Detwiler is a lefty, so Johnson will most likely choose whoever has the best matchup against their opponent.

If the series goes more than the minimum three games, Johnson will have to choose between starting Gonzalez and Zimmermann on three days of rest, or using a fourth starter for Game 4 and having Gonzalez for a decisive Game 5.