Wire Taps: Washington Nationals In Houston, Remembering The Lance Berkman Check-Swing Controversy.

• Programming Notes: Lance Berkman went. Sure he's a Cardinal now, but that doesn't mean we forget. The Washington Nationals flew from Atlanta to Houston last night after dropping two of three in Turner Field. The loss was the Nationals fifth in their last seven games. The Houston Astros are 3-16 in their last 19, coming off a four-game sweep at the hands of the Marlins and a 1-2 series loss to the Pirates. Jason Marquis vs 20-year-old Astros' right-hander Jordan Lyles. Keep an eye on Michael BournMLB.com's Peter Gammons says the Nats keep asking...Nats vs Astros, 8:05 pm EDT, MASN 2 HD, MLB.tv, 106.7 the FAN in D.C., 1500 WFED, Sirius/XM ch. 185.

• LINKS AND LINKS AND...

• NATS BEAT: 

• "Gorzelanny wasn’t ready to proclaim himself fit for his next start, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be ready to go either." - "Starting pitcher Tom Gorzelanny sprains ankle" - Gene Wang, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'Me blowing a three-run lead is a big blow to the team, for sure,' [Sean] Burnett said." - "Nationals' defeat proves doubly painful as Gorzelanny hurt" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Washington isn't selling, except for Tyler Clippard; instead, they keep asking for Michael Bourn -- thus far without success -- and had been one of several teams interested in Julio Borbon until his recent injury." - "Peter Gammons: Trade talks, rumors, tweets heat up" - Peter Gammons, MLB.com: News

• "The Athletics, according to one source, will not trade Bailey unless they receive an 'overwhelming' offer. The Nationals are believed to be taking a similar approach with Clippard." - "Rangers continue search for a reliever" - FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, Yardbarker

• "The Nationals have made a point of trying to build their team up the middle; center field is still a question, and Ian Desmond still has some things to prove at shortstop." - "Danny Espinosa finally gives Nationals an answer at second" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• "Hairston spent the last two nights on a rehab assignment with Class AA Harrisburg, where he went 1-for-6 with two walks while playing shortstop." - "Hairston coming off DL, Bixler optioned" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Utility man Jerry Hairston Jr. is expected to join the Nationals on Monday and be activated from the disabled list before they play the Astros at Minute Maid Park." - "Hairston to rejoin Nats on Monday" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "'The offense did a great job today,' Clippard said. 'This is definitely a game we’ve got to win.'" - "Nationals relievers work unexpected overtime" - Gene Wang, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'That’s rebuilding for you,' [Acta] said. 'You know you’re going to get your butt whipped.'" - "DALY: With the right players, Acta building a winner" - Dan Daly, Washington Times

• "'I haven't been in those situations very often. So when they walked Mac, I got a little bit excited. I kind of focused a little bit more,' Freeman said." - "Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves: Nats can't hold down leads in series finale" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "Every reliever the Nationals used on Sunday gave up at least one run, and despite the offense's ability to keep taking leads from the Braves, they couldn't finish things off." - "Bullpen falters, Nationals fall 9-8 to Braves" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• "'I thought I threw the ball well,' Marquis said after the game. 'I tried to do my part ... Ubaldo was just sharp tonight. You just tip your hat, and it's one of those games.'" - "Washington Nationals at Houston Astros: Marquis set to face familiar foe in Astros" - Christina De Nicola, MLB.com

• "Really, though, this game was lost the moment Tom Gorzelanny had to depart before the bottom of the third..." - "McCann, Freeman lift Braves past Nationals" - Mark Zuckerman, CSNWashington.com

• "'I gave a big inning to Mattheus. He has been great for me all year long, and he did it again for me tonight,' Johnson said after Saturday's game." - "Mattheus becoming dependable arm in 'pen" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "'When you walk away with a loss when you’re in a position to win the game, it’s tough to swallow.'" - Ryan Mattheus"Nationals vs. Braves: Washington loses rubber match to Atlanta" - Gene Wang, The Washington Post

• "'It's a numbers game,' said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. 'I like everything about him. He has a big future here. Fortunately, Hairston's coming back but (Bixler's) the odd man out.'" - "Bixler optioned to Triple-A, Hairston to be activated Monday" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "The Nationals have made a point of trying to build their team up the middle; center field is still a question, and Ian Desmond still has some things to prove at shortstop." - "Danny Espinosa finally gives Nationals an answer at second" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• "'It's just sprained. We'll see how it feels in the next few days,' Gorzelanny said." - "Gorzelanny day to day after turning ankle" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "On Oct. 27, 1955, barely a month after his Washington Nationals ballclub had finished their season with three straight losses to the Orioles, Clark Griffith passed away at 85." - "A future moving experience" - Phil Wood, MASNSports.com

• NATS MINOR LEAGUE UPDATES: 

Class-A Auburn: "Not only did the Doubledays give up a season high 15 hits to their opponent, they also struggled to hit in key situations going 1 for 14 with men in scoring position..." - "Doubledays Lose Game, Series in 8-3 Defeat" - Auburn Doubledays News

Class-A Hagerstown: "Suns LHP Matt Grace, who did not factor into the decision, gunned down the Legends through 6.0 innings, earning the quality start, and allowed just one earned run on six hits and three walks, while striking out six." - "Suns Fall 6-2 Against Late Lexington Surge" - Hagerstown Suns News

Class-A Potomac: Paul Demny - 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K's; Jeff Kobernus - 2 for 5, 1 RBU, .279 AVG - Potomac Nationals Scoreboard

Double-A Harrisburg: "Thanks to a two-run double by Bill Rhinehart and a two-run home run by Tyler Moore, the Senators came right back with four of their own in the third to reclaim a 5-4 lead." - "Barthmaier leads the Sens to win" - Terry Byrom, Harrisburg Senators News

• "Bryce Harper went 0-3 with a BB and a K against the Akron Aeros. He was one of two Harrisburg starters to go hitless in the Senators 9-7 win over Akron." - "Another Rough Night At The Plate For Bryce Harper" - HarperMania.com

• Double-A Harrisburg Sunday Game Highlights: 

Triple-A Syracuse: "[Tommy] Milone dealt seven and a third one-run innings and went 3-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and two runs to lead the Chiefs to the win." - "Chiefs breeze past IronPigs 8-4" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "[Brad] Peacock finished 4 1/3 innings, allowing six hits, seven runs, six earned, two walks, four strikeouts and those two round trippers. He threw 79 pitches, 44 for strikes." - "Peacock falls in Triple-A debut; Solis wins; Wang update" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "With the promotion of Jesus Flores to the big leagues, the door opened for catcher Jhonatan Solano to get every day work with the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs, and he has responded." - "Solano responding as everyday catcher in Syracuse" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

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

SHARKNATSTOWN: 

• " Once on first The Shark used his Shark Speed to steal second.  He would steal twice in the game bringing him up to 15 out of 17 for the year." - "Inside The Shark Home Run" - Sharkadina 

NATSTOWN: 

• "But contending for the playoffs this year is simply not realistic. And no one - not fans, media or anyone in the organization - is doing the Nats a favor by talking otherwise." - "Setting realistic goals for the second half" - MASNSports.com, Nationals Buzz: Dave Nichols

• "Video of that guy running on the field in a wedding dress and getting tackled by Turner Field security during Saturday night's Nats-Braves game..." - "Video of that guy in a wedding dress at Nats-Braves game" - Nats Enquirer

• "The fact is, however, that despite Clippard’s great value to the Nationals, his value to a team that is currently in a pennant race is much higher." - "Are The Nationals Actively 'Selling' Tyler Clippard?" - Will Yoder, The Nats Blog

• "Burnett was arguably the Nationals best pitcher last season, but he's been a liability to the Nats pen this year, with a 5.67 ERA and K-rate less than half of what it was last season." - "GAME 95 REVIEW: Nats Give Away Series Finale to Braves" - Dave Nichols, Nats News Network

• "The Nationals once again showed an inability to finish off an opponent after they seemed to be crushing them." - "On-Field Leadership Has Been 'Alien' To Washington Nationals This Season" - Andrew Kinback, SB Nation DC

NL EAST UPDATES: 

Phillies: "Though Philadelphia is a larger city and market, it might be wise for the Phillies to heed the Indians' cautionary tale, to learn from this old franchise's transformation from hot to ho-hum." - "Cleveland offers a cautionary tale for the Phillies" - Frank Fitzpatrick, Philly.com

Mets: "A second half fade that’s continued into 2011 has left Pelfrey, once again, a below league average pitcher. He still doesn’t have an outpitch that will allow him miss bats." - "Trading Pelfrey, Trusting Hughes, Aramis Ramirez, Pittsburgh Yanks" - Mike Silva's New York Baseball Digest

Braves: "'Pick your poison. I think they made a pretty good decision, but Freddie made them pay,' Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said." - "Freeman likes Nationals' call" - Philadelphia Daily News

Marlins: "There’s the Steve Bartman game, which Marlins and Cubs fans are intimately familiar with. On Sunday came The Gary Sinise Inning." - "The Gary Sinise Inning is latest chapter in Florida Marlins Wrigley Field adventures" - Fish Tank blog, Joe Capozzi, The Palm Beach Post 

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