Manager Davey Johnson has not finalized his starting rotation coming out of the all-star break, but he plans to give both Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg rest before their opening starts of the second half.
Strasburg, Johnson said, could be the Nationals’ fifth starter coming out of the all-star break. And Gonzalez will not pitch the first game back, which is in Miami against the Marlins. Johnson also said the workload of Strasburg and Gonzalez could dictate the rotation.
“I just have to be watching, counting pitches,” Johnson said. “Then I’ll decide on how I want to [line them up]. Stras, I may take it out farther and see where that puts me if I put me at the back of the line, see where that puts him. It’s not a major thing. I wouldn’t be doing it because he needs the extra rest.”
Johnson made clear both starters will be able to pitch based on their schedules. Strasburg’s final start will come Friday, giving him three days of rest before the All-Star Game, which Johnson said is enough time to rest.
Gonzalez will make the last start of his first half Saturday, meaning he will have two days of rest. Johnson said that will put Gonzalez on schedule to pitch in the All-Star Game on his “throwing day” – the day between starts when he throws a bullpen session.
While both Strasburg and Gonzalez would throw only one inning, the atmosphere of the game could create a greater toll. “I generally would say it’s almost double or triple, just the energy that goes into pitching in one,” Johnson said.
Jordan Zimmermann is scheduled to pitch Sunday, the final day of the first half. Based on what Johnson said and how he has managed his staff this season, it seems logical that Edwin Jackson will pitch the first game in Miami, followed by Ross Detwiler and then Zimmermann to break up the lefties, with Gonzalez and Strasburg rounding it out.
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