Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Start Second-Half In Atlanta vs Tim Hudson.

• Programming Notes: The Washington Nationals, with Livan Hernandez on the hill, take on the Atlanta Braves, who throw Tim Hudson in the first game of the so-called second-half. The Nats ended the first half at 46-46, 11.5 games behind the NL East's first-place Phillies, 57-34, and 8.0 games behind the Wild-Card-leading Braves, 54-38. Livan's given up 16 hits and eight earned runs in 12.2 IP in July, earning no decision in either of his two starts, both of which Washington lost. Tim Hudson's (1-1) in two starts against the Nats, but the Braves' right-hander hasn't faced the Nationals since he gave up 5 hits and 7 runs, 3 earned in a 7-6 Atlanta loss to Washington on May 10th. Hernandez vs Hudson. 7:35 pm EDT from Turner Field. MASN HD, MLB.tv, 106.7 the FAN in D.C., 1500 WFED, Sirius/XM ch. 184. Who's Watching The Nationals?

• LINKS AND LINKS AND...

• NATS BEAT:

• "Imagine Fielder hitting cleanup between Ryan Zimmerman and Werth in 2012. There might not be a better heart of the order in the league." - "Prince Fielder positioned for massive payday" - Dave Sheinin, Baseball Insider - The Washington Post

• "A common refrain for the first half of the season was that the Nationals were going to be dangerous - as soon as they started hitting." - "Wins of change on horizon for Nationals?" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

1. "In the last 10 years, as the statistical revolution has washed over baseball, Nationals manager Davey Johnson has probably received less publicity for his role in it than he should." - "Talking statistics with Davey Johnson" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

2. "Now that he's back in the majors, Johnson has a vast array of information at his disposal - and new technology to get it - that wasn't there for most of his career." - "Talking statistics with Davey Johnson, Part 2" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• "The Nationals granted J.C. Romero his unconditional release, ending any possibility of the veteran lefty joining their bullpen." - "Catching up on Thursday's news" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "'A smart guy told me that only thing you can control is your effort and your intent,' he said. 'I'm going to hustle every day and I have good intentions.'" - "Werth focused on putting struggles behind him" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "dc_Roach asked about the pressure of closing. I always tell people that relieving late in the game is a high-risk/high-reward job." - "Drew Storen: Catching up with the family over All-Star break" - MASNSports.com

• "The two weeks of games coming out of the all-star break could sway General Manager Mike Rizzo’s thinking with regard to the July 31 trade deadline." - "Nationals’ top questions for second half of the MLB season" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "The Nats’ first-half performance excites newcomers more than long-sufferers because the latter are conditioned to losing, just like the team." - "SNYDER: Nats fans can look at glass as half-full" - Deron Snyder, Washington Times

• "The Nationals begin the second half of their season tonight in Atlanta, facing old nemesis Tim Hudson in what could actually be classified as a meaningful series." - "Five stories to watch in the Nationals' second half" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• "Rodriguez is planning to hit off a tee Friday. If things go well, Rodriguez will then try to take batting practice the next day." - "Pudge feels strong, will hit on Friday" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "The Nationals have gone 23-15 since June 1, their best prolonged stretch of baseball in quite some time, yet they've actually lost two games in the wild-card race." - "Series preview: Nats at Braves" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "The Democrats and Republicans in Congress haven't been able to agree on much in recent days, but they won't argue on one point -- Rep. Cedric Richmond sure knows how to pitch." - "Democrat throws near-no-no in win over GOP" - Jeff Seidel, nationals.com

• "Riggleman, who abruptly resigned as Nationals manager on June 23, has been good friends with Giants manager Bruce Bochy for several years." - "Report: Jim Riggleman hired by SF Giants" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

 Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "If you have love and compassion towards all living beings, particularly toward your enemy, that is true love and compassion." - 

• NATS MINOR LEAGUE UPDATES: 

• Class-A Auburn: "On a night that saw a combined seven hits between the Doubledays and the Cyclones, it was Brooklyn who won the pitching duel in a 2-0 win at MCU Park on Thursday night." - "Cyclones Outduel Doubledays in Brooklyn" - Auburn Doubledays News

• Class-A Hagerstown: "The first game on Friday will begin with a 6:00pm first pitch which will serve to complete tonight's suspended game with the series game three postponed until after game one tomorrow is completed." - "Scheduled Doubleheader to be Played Friday, Suns Down 1-0 in Game One" - Hagerstown Suns News

• "'The Washington Nationals would never consider asking our players, or those of our opponents, to play on a field that we believe represents a safety threat,' Rizzo said." - "Potomac field conditions unplayable, unsafe" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• Double-A Harrisburg: Chien-Ming Wang - 6.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 K, 75 P, 51 S - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

• "Harper did tally an outfield assist, gunning down Akron Aeros second baseman Karexon Sanchez as he tried to score from 2nd base on a single to left." - "Bryce Harper 0-3 In Return To Harrisburg" - HarperMania.com

• Triple-A Syracuse: "The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, split a doubleheader with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Thursday." - "Chiefs split twin bill with IronPigs" - Syracuse Chiefs News

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

• "Senators pitching coach Randy Tomlin said one of the major reasons Peacock was on top of his game this season was his ability to not look ahead and wonder when he would possibly get his shot at Triple-A." - "Peacock focused on job at hand, earning promotion to Syracuse" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• NATSTOWN: 

• "I said it at the beginning of the season and stand by it: Strasburg's rehab and return is the most important aspect of the Nationals season." - "Realistic Look at the Second Half" - Dave Nichols, Nats News Network 

• "Recently I invited the 123 members of the Washington Baseball History group on Facebook to share their personal Washington baseball stories." - "Hearts and Diamonds" - Mark Hornbaker, Washington Nationals Daily News

• "Now Zimm could be injured and Werth could be broken, but I'd bet on big second halves for both." - "What to expect in the second half" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "For one night, Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill set aside their political differences to participate in the 50th annual Congressional Baseball Game." - "Congressional Baseball Game: Rookie Congressman Leads Democrats To 8-2 Victory At Nationals Park" - Kristen Hudak, SB Nation DC

• Mid-Season Review: "Apparently we have a thing for pitchers" - First Ladies of Baseball

• "Everyone is familiar with the routine by now. Mr. Lerner, you might want to break out your check book a few minutes before midnight on August 15." - "Nats agree to terms with four more guys not named Anthony Rendon" - Nats Enquirer

• "This can’t end well. Unwinnable Staring Contest" - Washington NationLOLs

NL EAST UPDATES: 

Braves: "Asking fans what the chances are that the Atlanta Braves will make the playoffs." - "Atlanta Braves Playoff Chances Poll" - gondeee, Talking Chop

Mets"'I’m still trying to find out what happened. I was told by my ex-agent about the 10-team list and Milwaukee was one of them,' Rodriguez said." - "Oops! K-Rod Says No-Trade Clause Snafu Led To Mets-Brewers Swap 'Shock'; Ex-Agent Never Sent 10-Team List To MLB When Closer Signed With New York" - CBS New York

Marlins: "The Rangers have checked in with the Marlins about their pitching but no names have been exchanged, major-league sources say." - "Sources: Rangers have asked about Marlins’ pitching" - Jon Paul Morosi, Yardbarker

Phillies: "Bothered by the ailing back, the slumping Polanco is hitting .274 this season with four home runs and 39 RBIs." - "Phillies place Polanco on DL, activate Madson" - CSNPhilly.com

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