Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Return Home, First-Half Of 2011 Complete.

• Programming Notes: The Washington Nationals take on the Pittsburgh Pirates toni--what? There's no game tonight? The Nats start a four-game (there's a doubleheader Saturday) series with Andrew McCutchen and the Bucs tomorrow night but Nats Park will be full of Ryan Zimmerman's crew tonight as he gets his one night a year to run free in Nats Park and uses it for a fundraiser to raise money and awareness about MS. The Nats need to start winning soon so the nation's capital's Cal doesn't decide to hightail it out of town when his current contract comes up and instead stays with the team that drafted him and has been promising their first 1st Round pick a winner ever since. I repeat No Game Tonight. Enjoy your Thursday. Links to follow...

• LINKS AND LINKS AND...

• NATS BEAT: 

• "'I’ve been very patient,' he said. 'But that’s okay.'" Stable, humble, always taking the high road, Zimmerman has comported himself better than any leader of any Washington team." - "Ryan Zimmerman deserves a winning Washington Nationals team" - Mike Wise, The Washington Post

• "When Ryan Zimmerman decided to overhaul his throwing mechanics in the middle of a major league season, he understood the ramifications." - "Ryan Zimmerman on his new throwing mechanics are ‘something that I have to be patient with’" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'It's tough, but it's better,' Zimmerman said. 'If I thought that the way it was compared to this wasn't going to be a big difference, I wouldn't do it.'" - "Throwing motion coming along for Zimmerman as he notes that ultimately, 'I think it can make me a better player.'" - Washington Times

• "Hairston had an X-ray done after the game, which revealed the small break. He wore a gauzy wrap on his right wrist, hand and forearm." - "Jerry Hairston suffers 'small break' in wrist, hopes to play through it" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "As a hitter, you see the fastball well,' designated hitter Matt Stairs said. 'But there were some shadows. It’s tough hitting." - "Nationals vs. Angels: Jordan Zimmermann’s career-best eight-inning start is wasted in shutout loss" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "'You never want to walk guys,' Zimmermann said solemnly afterward. "He looked completely exasperated, his arm resting in an ice wrap after a formidable yet wasted performance." - "Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Angels: Zimmermann superb, but Nationals shut out" - Jordan Garretson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "They are sitting in better shape after 81 games than at any time since then, but how this year is measured depends on what your expectations are." - "The Nationals' first half, in review" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• "Transport yourself back to March 31, as the Nationals were taking the field on Opening Day..." - "Where do they stand after 81 games?" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "'It was a tough play,' Zimmerman said. 'I’m going to go to second every time. I guess it kind of ran up into the runner a little bit.'" - Zimmermann's first career complete game goes to waste as Nats are swept by Angels - Washington Times

• "Zimmerman added that Werth 'works too hard' to not be able to snap out of his funk, a sentiment Johnson echoed." - "Nationals not worried about Werth" - Jordan Garretson, nationals.com: News

• "This was in the Mets' clubhouse at Shea Stadium after an October loss to the Montreal Expos eliminated New York from the 1985 National League East race." - "HELLER: Davey Johnson's past success doesn't guarantee similar results now" - Dick Heller, Washington Times

• "Jordan Zimmermann was masterful for the Nationals (40-41) Wednesday night pitching a complete game." - "Zimmermann complete game not enough as Nats fall 1-0 to Angels in series finale" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• VIDEO: "Beltway Baseball Live" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "The Nationals' bench hopes that Gorzelanny can build off his most recent start, on Sunday, in which he gave up one earned run in seven innings with eight strikeouts against the White Sox." - "Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals: Familiarity breeds comfort for Pirates, Nationals" - Jon Star, MLB.com Preview

• NATS MINOR LEAGUES: 

Class-A Auburn: "Missed opportunities were the theme of the night, as the Doubledays finished just 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position, stranding 13 men on the bases." - "Undefeated Road Streak Ends in 7-3 Loss" - Auburn Doubledays News

Class-A Hagerstown: "Suns RHP Taylor Jordan (8-4), the losing pitcher of record, allowed three unearned runs on four hits, while walking three and fanning eight." - "Late Charge from BlueClaws Finishes Off Suns" - Hagerstown Suns News

• "Bryce Harper was 0-4 with a walk and a strikeout in his return to the Hagerstown Suns lineup after missing the previous three games to rest a bone bruise on his left thumb." - "Bryce Harper 0-4 In Return To Hagerstown Suns Lineup" - HarperMania.com

Class-A Potomac: "Eury Perez, who walked to open the inning, scored the winning run for the Nationals, who have played three consecutive extra-inning games." - "DESTIN SHOW: HOOD SENDS P-NATS TO WIN" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: "Five members of the Double-A Harrisburg Senators have been named to the Western Division All-Star team for the Eastern League All-Star Game coming up in two weeks." - "Five Senators invited to Eastern League All-Star Game" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

Double-A Harrisburg: "The Nationals' No. 9 prospect, according to MLB.com, Peacock is having a breakout year. He leads all Minor Leaguers with 120 strikeouts and tops the Eastern League with nine wins..." - "Sens' Peacock caps memorable day" - Robert Emrich, MiLB.com News

Double-A Harrisburg: "[Brad] Peacock struck out six, walked three and allowed just a single hit in the game. It was the third time this season he has started the resumption of a suspended game." - "Senators slip past Richmond 3-2" - Terry Byrom, Harrisburg Senators News

Triple-A Syracuse: "Leadoff batter Ankiel started the third with a double to rightfield. Steve Lombardozzi's sacrifice bunt brought him to third followed by a Matt Antonelli sacrifice fly that put Syracuse up 1-0." -"Friday, Indians down Chiefs 7-3" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "Thursday’s News & Notes" - NationalsProspects.com

• SHARKNATSTOWN!!!: 

• "The outfielder’s official Web site makes prominent use of the nickname, and [Bernadina] started mixing it into his Facebook status updates, as in 'My name is Shark.'" - "How Roger Bernadina became The Shark" - Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• "As per usual, the Shark returned the favor later in the game, showing off his arm and his glove, while unleashing Shark Mode (see below)." - "Shark Mode" - Sharkadina: Roger Bernadina's Unofficial Blog

• NATSTOWN: 

• "As the shadows crept across the outfield grass at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, it became tougher and tougher for both teams to bat against the elite level starters their opposition sent out to face them." - "GAME 81 REVIEW: Nats Shut Out and Swept at the Big A" - Dave Nichols, Nats News Network

• "Time to worry that Davey Johnson thought it was a good idea to bat Matt Stairs leadoff on Wednesday? Yes." - "Bring Back John McLaren!" - Nats Enquirer

• "The Nats are a measly 18-28 on the road, for a .391 winning percentage. But as bad as they are away, they are much better at home, so far going 22-13, for a .629 winning percentage." - "10 Games and then a Break" - Charlier, The Nationals Review

• "With Davey Johnson taking over as the Nationals manager, he starts his tenure by losing his first three games. That is not the way to make an impression with the public." - "Transitional Period Becomes Tougher For Nationals" - District on Deck - Leslie Monteiro, A Washington Nationals Blog

• "The Mets have been locked and loaded, its unbelievable. Everyone in the lineup is contributing, including Jason Bay who hit the first of two grand slams on Tuesday night." - "NL East Update: The one where another Phillies closer goes down" - Ted Youngling, The Nats Blog

• "Zimmermann is turning into a legitimate No. 2 starter right before our very eyes. And he's still in the recovery process from Tommy John surgery." - "Jordan Zimmermann is ace in the hole" - Nationals Buzz: Dave Nichols, MASNSports.com

• "If you mention the five errors from last night one..." - Washington NationLOLs

• Nats News Network - Off The Field: Reminder: Ryan Zimmerman's "A Night At The Park" is Tonight Tomorrow" - Cheryl Nichols, Nats News Network

• Twitter: @KHudak11: Ryan Zimmerman's A Night At The Park: "Tix still available (online & at the door) for Zimmerman's MS Fundraiser tonight at #Nats Park anightatthepark.com. Doors open at 6. #MS" - 

NL EAST UPDATES: 

 • Mets:  "The New York Mets have scored 52 runs in their last four games." - "The New York Mets And The Case Of The Insane Scoring Spree" - Grant Brisbee, Baseball Nation

Marlins: "Let’s start with something positive…Mike Stanton made a tremendous catch in right field late Wednesday." - "Second golden sombrero (four Ks) in five games for Mike Stanton" - Juan C. Rodriguez, Florida Sun-Sentinel

Braves"This was a good one, folks. The Braves earned their second sweep of the last three series, finished June with a 17-9 record, and went 4-2 on this west coast trip." - "Atlanta Braves at Seattle Mariners Series Recap" - moorebraves, Talking Chop

Phillies: "Bernard Hopkins is an expert in that. At 46, he’s a light-heavyweight boxing champion. Hopkins message?"Knock ‘em out," joked manager Charlie Manuel..." - "Fightin' words for Phils" - Randy Miller, phillyBurbs.com

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