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No surprise: Nationals will start Tanner Roark in Game 2 vs. Dodgers, Gio Gonzalez in Game 3

No surprise: Nationals will start Tanner Roark in Game 2 vs. Dodgers, Gio Gonzalez in Game 3
Washington Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark pitches in the third inning against the Miami Marlins on Oct. 1. (Matt Hazlett / Getty Images)

In the end, Dusty Baker owned up to his gamesmanship.

The Washington Nationals announced Friday that Tanner Roark would start Game 2 of the National League division series, followed by Gio Gonzalez in Game 3. Baker had insisted Thursday that the Nationals had remained undecided, a week after knowing they would play the Dodgers and the series would start in Washington.

"We weren't debating that much," Baker said. "We were just kind of messing with you guys, to tell you the truth."

Baker had a simple explanation for the Nationals’ deciding to start right-handers Max Scherzer and Roark in the first two games of the series.

"We went with our two best," Baker said.

The Dodgers batted .213 off left-handers, the lowest figure in the major leagues, and they went 22-24 against left-handed starters. But Gonzalez, the Nationals' lone left-handed starter, went 11-11 with a 4.57 earned-run average this season, including a 7.43 ERA in his final five starts.

Scherzer went 20-7 with a 2.96 ERA. Roark went 16-10 with a 2.83 ERA.

On the eve of his first career postseason start, Roark readily admitted to being nervous.

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"If you're not nervous," he said, "you're not human."

Roark, who turned 30 Wednesday, said his friends back home in Illinois would be watching his start.

"My buddy just passed the bar," Roark said, "so he's going to be having a huge party at one of our local establishments."

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