The Washington Times - July 17, 2011, 10:45AM

ATLANTA — The Nationals aren’t fully committed to using Jordan Zimmermann as a fifth starter in that they’re not going to skip his starts or push him back when the team has an offday. They want him to be on the mound doing what he’s done so well this season until he reaches his roughly 160-inning limit. 

That said, he is now technically the fifth starter in the Nationals rotation which means that today, instead of sending Zimmermann to the mound to get a crucial series victory against the Braves, they’re handing that task off to Tom Gorzelanny. That’s not meant as a knock on the left-hander, who has shown several times this year that he’s fully capable of spinning a gem. I’m merely pointing out that this is the spot you’d want your ace in — in a rubber match with a divisional rival — but the Nationals can’t fully treat their ace as one.


That said, Gorzelanny has averaged 6 2/3 innings in his last three starts with a 2.25 ERA and has a 3.18 ERA in six career starts against the Braves. 

He’ll have the mostly-regular Nationals lineup behind him with the only real difference being that catcher Wilson Ramos is out and Jesus Flores gets the day game after Saturday’s night game. Laynce Nix is back in the lineup but dropped to sixth with Jayson Werth hitting fifth.

Here are the full lineups:


Roger Bernadina CF
Danny Espinosa 2B
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Michael Morse 1B
Jayson Werth RF
Laynce Nix LF
Jesus Flores C
Ian Desmond SS
Tom Gorzelanny P


Jordan Schafer CF
Martin Prado 3B
Brian McCann C
Freddie Freeman 1B
Dan Uggla 2B
Alex Gonzalez SS
Nate McLouth LF
Wilkin Ramirez RF
Jair Jurrjens P