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Washington Nationals set starting rotation for season-opening series; Max Scherzer to start vs Phillies...

The Washington Nationals announced the starting rotation for the season-opening series with the Miami Marlins and Friday’s series-opener with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Boston Red Sox v Washington Nationals Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals made some changes to the opening series rotation for this week’s three-game set against the Miami Marlins.

Stephen Strasburg will start on Opening Day, while Tanner Roark will take the mound in the second game of the series. However, Gio Gonzalez will be the one starting the third and final game of the series.

This was something of a surprise announcement as Dusty Baker expected to have Max Scherzer pitching in the series closer against the Marlins.

"Right now, we've kind of got Max slated as the No. 3 starter," Baker told ESPN’s Eddie Matz late in Spring Training.

Scherzer looked solid in the two games he pitched in Florida and was solid again in this afternoon’s exhibition against the Boston Red Sox after spending time recovering from a stress fracture in the lower knuckle of his right ring finger this Spring.

The injury kept the 2016 National League CY Young award winner from making his third straight Opening Day start for the Nationals.

Scherzer will kick off the series opener against the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday in Citizens Bank Park.

This move allows Scherzer to get additional rest before he makes his 2017 debut.

Gonzalez will take on Marlins’ right-hander Tom Koehler, who went 1-2 and posted a 4.50 ERA against the Nationals last season.

Gonzalez is (6-3) with a 2.21 ERA in 11 starts and 69 13 innings pitched vs Miami in his career.

There is still no word on whether Joe Ross will be on the 25-man roster at the start of the season, but the Nationals are reportedly considering sending Ross to Triple-A Syracuse at the start of the season, so they can have roster availability, according to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, since they won’t need a fifth starter until Sunday.