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Matt Williams sets Washington Nationals' rotation after Opening Day

Matt Williams announced this past Monday that Max Scherzer would get the ball on Opening Day. This afternoon, the Washington Nationals' manager officially set the rest of the rotation.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

I don't like to say, "I told you so," and like Tom Reagan, the character played by Gabriel Byrne in the Coen Brothers' "Miller's Crossing," I don't like people who do.

But we were asked a few weeks back to project which pitchers we thought would end up in the 2015 Washington Nationals' rotation at the end of Spring Training and we were five for five with our picks.

Check out the screencap from the SB Nation's 2015 MLB Preview:


Nailed it.

[ed. note - "Don't look at the lineup, we noted that it was the expected everyday lineup if everyone was healthy, the Opening Day lineup could look drastically different."]

But the pitchers, we totally nailed that, though we didn't put them in any particular order.

As expected, Tanner Roark is left out of the Nationals' stacked rotation for now with the addition of Max Scherzer on a 7-year/$210M deal pushing the right-hander who went (15-10) in 31 starts in a +3.0 fWAR campaign in 2014, with a 2.85 ERA, a 3.47 FIP, 39 walks (1.77 BB/9) and 138 Ks (6.25 K/9) in 198 ⅔ IP into the bullpen... most likely.

In an MLB Network Radio interview this week, Nats' GM Mike Rizzo told "Inside Pitch" hosts Jim Bowden and Casey Stern that he's been impressed with the way Roark has handled a tough situation.

"It was really one of the most selfless things that I've ever seen happen in baseball," Rizzo said of Roark's reaction to the news.

"This is a guy that could have really made things a little dicey for us with our decision to put him in the bullpen, but he made things smooth and comfortable for everybody and I think he's going to excel in the bullpen. We see his long-term position as a starting pitcher for us, but I think he's going to go to the bullpen and have a lot of success."

Rizzo on Roark

When Matt Williams met with reporters on Saturday, before the Washington Nationals' 10-2 Grapefruit League loss to the New York Mets, the second-year skipper shared his plans for the order in which he'll send his starters out to the mound after Opening Day barring any changes or hiccups before April 6th.

Williams announced earlier this week that Max Scherzer will get the ball for season opener on April 6th, and when the Nationals and Mets meet again on April 8th, it will be right-hander Jordan Zimmermann on the mound followed by Stephen Strasburg in the finale of the season-opening series and Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister in the first two of three with the Philadelphia Phillies.

"'Yeah, there's no deep secret reason behind any of it,'" Williams explained, as quoted by writer Bill Ladson when asked about the decision-making process.

"Gio gets a chance whether he's 4 or 5 to go against the Phillies, who have a lot of left-handed hitters, so he slots there really well. And there's no reason, other than that, to do it.'"

There you have it.

Your 2015 Washington Nationals' Rotation:

  1. Max Scherzer - RHP - 2014 Stats - (18-5), 33 G, 33 GS, 220 ⅓ IP, 3.15 ERA, 2.85 FIP, 18 HR (0.74 HR/9), 63 BB (2.57 BB/9), 252 Ks (10.29 K/9), +5.6 fWAR
  2. Stephen Strasburg - RHP - 2014 Stats - (14-11), 34 G, 34 GS, 215 IP, 3.14 ERA, 2.94 FIP, 23 HR (0.96 HR/9), 43 BB (1.80 BB/9), 242 Ks (10.13 K/9), +4.3 fWAR
  3. Jordan Zimmermann - RHP - 2014 Stats - (14-5), 32 G, 32 GS, 199 ⅔ IP, 2.66 ERA, 2.68 FIP, 13 HR (0.59 HR/9), 29 BB (1.31 BB/9), 182 Ks (8.20 K9), +5.2 fWAR
  4. Gio Gonzalez - LHP - 2014 Stats - (10-10), 27 G, 27 GS, 158 ⅔ IP, 3.57 ERA, 3.03 FIP, 10 HR (0.57 HR/9), 56 BB (3.18 BB/9), 162 Ks (9.19 K/9), +3.1 fWAR
  5. Doug Fister - RHP - 2014 Stats - (16-6), 25 G, 25 GS, 164 IP, 2.41 ERA, 3.93 FIP, 18 HR (0.99 HR/9), 24 BB (1.32 BB/9), 98 Ks (5.38 K/9), +1.3 fWAR