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Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 08/19/2012

Why Gio Gonzalez is starting on Sunday

(Pat Sullivan - AP)
Earlier in the week, and because of Thursday’s off day, Nationals Manager Davey Johnson made a minor change to the starting rotation. He flopped Ross Detwiler and Edwin Jackson in the rotation to separate the two left-handers: Detwiler and Gio Gonzalez.

Johnson said he considered holding back Gonzalez another day so he could face the left-handed heavy Atlanta Braves on Monday. But he opted against it. And here’s why: He decided to give the extra day of rest to Jordan Zimmermann and his stiff right shoulder, which has not been an issue. Gonzalez still gets five days of rest before his start.

Zimmermann is scheduled to pitch on five days rest on Monday against the Braves, the first time he will have faced them this season, and Stephen Strasburg will take the mound on Tuesday. Detwiler, who stifled the Braves for seven innings on July 22, will pitch the final game of the series on Wednesday.

“[Zimmermann] is no slouch and I don’t care if he’s pitching against all left-handers,” Johnson said.

By  |  07:00 AM ET, 08/19/2012

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