While he’ll have to see how things play out in the All-Star Game, Davey Johnson has set what he’s calling his probable rotation after the All-Star break.
That rotation has Jordan Zimmermann working the first game after the break, which will come Friday in Miami. Zimmermann will be followed by Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler.
Johnson said there’s “a little better probability than 50 percent” of that rotation coming to fruition. He’ll wait to see how much Strasburg and Gonzalez are used in the All-Star Game before finalizing his pitching order.
“It could change depending on what happens in the All-Star Game, but I was kind of thinking with Tony (La Russa, NL manager) and knowing what he probably would do with my guys,” Johnson said. “And that’s how I’ll line it up.”
Asked whether he knows if Strasburg and Gonzalez will definitely be used in Tuesday’s All-Star Game, Johnson smiled.
“If they’re trying to win,” he quipped.
Having Zimmermann pitch the first game out of the break allows him to stay on a normal four days of rest. Zimmermann starts today against the Rockies in the Nationals’ first-half finale and goes into the start with a 5-6 record and a 2.70 ERA, best among Nationals starters.
There had been some talk about Johnson possibly pushing Strasburg all the way to the back of the Nationals’ rotation out of the break so that he’s able to work slightly deeper into the season before being shut down due to his innings limit. But in reality, having him pitch just a few days later in the year means relatively nothing.
A win is a win. It doesn’t matter whether Strasburg gets the first start out of the break or the last, he will be shut down eventually, and having his final start come two days further into August or early September will have minimal, if any, impact on the Nationals’ season.