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Nationals-Dodgers series open rescheduled

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Sports,MLB,Nationals,Brian McNally

Nats host doubleheader Wednesday vs. Dodgers

Inclement weather in the Washington D.C. region put an end to the series opener between the Nationals and Dodgers on Tuesday before things even got started. The game was called off at 5 p.m. and rescheduled as a doubleheader on Wednesday with far better weather in the forecast. Jordan Zimmermann will start Game 1 of the doubleheader at 4:05 p.m. for the Nats and John Lannan will take Game 2 about a half-hour after the first contest concludes.

They will be opposed by Aaron Harang and then Josh Beckett for Los Angeles. Washington manager Davey Johnson left open the option of switching his starters just because he hadn't yet talked with pitching coach Steve McCatty or either of his pitchers before meeting the media around 5 p.m. But that's the plan for now.

Because the Nats (89-57) will now need a sixth starter for Sunday's game against the Milwaukee Brewers -- and since ace Stephen Strasburg has been shelved for the season -- Johnson will turn to his bullpen for a spot starter. That will be either Craig Stammen, Zach Duke or Chien-Ming Wang. Johnson wanted time to check the numbers for all three against the Brewers' hitters before making a decision there. Pitching any of his top pitchers on three days' rest was a non-starter, especially since Zimmermann took medicine to deal with shoulder inflammation just last month.

"I just don't want to go to any of my good young pitchers to bring them back on short notice at this point," Johnson said. "I don't think [Zimmermann] has done it, and he's had a little bit of that [right shoulder] inflammation there. I think he could do it and have no problem. But it's not something I'd like to do to any of those in our rotation at this point."

The Nationals' magic number sits at three to clinch a playoff spot, and Los Angeles (76-71) is the team they are trying to eliminate. The magic number to win the National League East is now 10 after the second-place Braves (85-64) lost at Miami on Tuesday night. Atlanta is 51Ú2 games behind Washington in the division.

bmcnally@washingtonexaminer.com

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