|Gio gets the nod in Game 1 of the NLDS. (US Presswire)|
With the Washington Nationals having clinched the National League East Monday night, their focus now shifts to securing the top seed in the NL. Still, they know they are headed to the NLDS instead of the wild-card game, so preparations for the series have begun.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson told reporters (including Amanda Comak) Tuesday that Gio Gonzalez will start Game 1 and Jordan Zimmermann will get the ball in Game 2. As for Game 3, it's either Edwin Jackson or Ross Detwiler, but Johnson will wait to determine the starter until he knows the opponent.
Gonzalez has taken over as the clear Nationals ace since the much-ballyhooed shutdown of Stephen Strasburg and is one of the frontrunners for the NL Cy Young. Gonzalez is 21-8 with a 2.89 ERA, 1.123 WHIP and 207 strikeouts in 199 1/3 innings.
Zimmermann -- who, by the way, was shut down in similar fashion to Strasburg last season -- is 12-8 with a 2.94 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 153 strikeouts in 195 2/3 innings.
The Nationals' opponent (heading into Tuesday's action) could be the Giants, Braves, Cardinals or Dodgers.