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The D-Train is first outta the station

You probably already know this, and if by chance this is the first you are hearing about it, you could have guessed it.

Dontrelle is scheduled to be the Marlins starting pitcher on opening day.

New Florida Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez knew long ago Dontrelle Willis would likely be his first opening day starter. And throughout spring training, it was assumed that the plan hadn't changed. So when Gonzalez finally announced the decision on Monday, only one guy seemed taken aback.

"Of course I'm surprised," Willis said. "I'm excited. I wanted it, but that doesn't mean I'll have it next year. You never want to assume anything in this game."

Knock me over with a feather. </sarcasm>

What did surprise me a little is the way the rest of rotation will lineup after Willis.

Olsen will get the ball the following day. Gonzalez said Anibal Sanchez would start the third game of the series at RFK Stadium. Ricky Nolasco would be in line to start the Marlins' home opener April 6.

Gonzalez said he preferred to have Willis and Olsen back-to-back so each would receive starts in three of the Marlins' first four series: against division rivals Washington, Philadelphia and Atlanta.

''I think those are the two guys we need to get us going,'' Gonzalez said.

No argument that those two guys can get us going but it was a tad bit surprising that the two lefties are back-to-back.  I do understand why Fredi would want them to face the division rivals as often as possible since our divisional foes suck at hitting left-handed pitching.  Well, with the exception of the Nats.

Only the Cubs had a lower team batting average against them than the Mets (.254). The Braves (.259) and Phillies (.256) ranked 10th and tied for 12th, respectively. The National had the division's best showing at .276 (fourth).

While one rain out will screw all this planning up, and we do play in South Florida, it is worth a shot.

The Marlins will go with a four-man rotation at least until April 10th due to off days.  After that, the fifth starter will be incorporated into the lineup.  The best guess at this point it will either be Mitre or Petit.  My money is on Mitre and the extra time should be enough to allow him to build arm strength.

The manager has set the rotation and opening day is less than two weeks away - folks, the fun is about to begin!