Wire Taps: Washington Nationals And New York Mets Open Four-Game Set In Citi Field.

• Programming Notes: The Washington Nationals took two of three from the Houston Astros with Sunday's win. Now they start a four-game series with New York that will close out their 2011 matchup with the Mets. The Nats need to take three of four to earn a tie in the season series with their NL East rivals, who hold a 6-8  lead over the Nationals. Ross Detwiler vs R.A. Dickey tonight in Citi Field. The Mets' knuckler beat the Nats last time the two teams played, giving up nine hits and three earned runs over 6.0 IP. Detwiler was knocked out in the third inning of that game, back on September 2nd, allowing seven hits and six runs all earned in 3.0 IP. Washington trails New York by 3.0 games as the series begins. If there's any chance of the Nats catching up to the third-place Mets, they'll need to win big in NY. MASN HD, MLB.tv, 106.7 the FAN in D.C., 1500 WFED, Sirius/XM ch. 183. Who's Watching The Nationals?

• LINKS AND LINKS AND...

• NATS BEATS:

• "His start, which lasted 57 pitches and featured four strikeouts, became less top billing than it was a footnote in an 8-2 Nationals victory." - "Strasburg takes a back seat as three straight home runs spark Nats' victory" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "With his fastball losing some sink on a muggy September day in the District, Strasburg could only get through three innings in 57 pitches." - "In his second start, Stephen Strasburg has some growing pains" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• "'It's pretty frustrating,' he said. 'But knowing Davey from the Olympics, he's got my best interests in mind.'" - "Strasburg departs after 3 inconsistent innings" - Mark Zuckerman, CSNWashington.com

• "Strasburg improved in each inning, becoming more efficient and more dominant as the day wore on." - "Nationals vs. Astros: Stephen Strasburg is less than sparkling, but Washington wins, 8-2" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "Stephen Strasburg's second major league start in his road back from Tommy John surgery lasted one pitch longer than his first start, and two fewer innings." - "Strasburg done after three innings" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "On the strength of back-to-back-to-back home runs, the Nationals pounded the Astros, 8-2, at Nationals Park on Sunday afternoon." - "Houston Astros at Washington Nationals: Nats hit three straight HRs in Strasburg's start" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "The biggest on-field question the remainder of this season centers on Jose Reyes, the pending free agent who is in pursuit of the NL batting title." - "Series preview: Nats at Mets" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "'I feel like I am having a good approach right now and seeing the ball better,' [Jesus] Flores said. 'I have a better plan every time I go to the plate. That is why I am having good results after that.'" - "Jesus Flores building back strength and confidence in game follows" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "'Forget all that stuff in here,' Johnson told Espinosa as he studied video for the umpteenth time. 'Don't worry about it. You're all right. You just need to relax a little bit.'" - "Espinosa breaks through, puts 0-for-15 skid behind him" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "When Chris Marrero looks into his future with the Nationals, he is still not sure what he sees." - "Chris Marrero is off to a good start" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Should Jim Crane's bid to buy the Houston Astros be approved, there's a solid chance that they'll move to the American League West..." - "The 30-team solution" - Phil Wood, MASNSports.com

• "Right-hander Brad Peacock is expected to make his first Major League start on Wednesday, which means left-handers Tommy Milone and John Lannan will be pushed back a day." - "Peacock on track for first big league start" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Detwiler will be making his seventh start of the season. Before his sixth, he was pitching solidly in a starting role, posting a 3.14 ERA in his first five outings." - "Washington Nationals at New York Mets: Nats and Mets to kick off final clash of 2011" - Cash Kruth, MLB.com Preview

• "Late Saturday night, Johnson told reporters that Espinosa, to him, seemed too intent on breaking out of his slump." - "Danny Espinosa relaxes, then breaks out" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• NATS MINOR LEAGUES: 

• Class-A Auburn: "After Saturday night's 1-0 defeat of the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Staten Island Yankees will meet the Auburn Doubledays in the 2011 New York-Penn League Championship Series." - "Doubledays to Meet Yankees in NYPL Championship" - Auburn Doubledays News

• Class-A Potomac: "[Destin] Hood, a former second-round pick who's hitting .385 in the playoffs, singled to center field to put Potomac in front and chase Moore." - "P-Nats score six in eighth to stay alive" - Ashley Marshall, MiLB.com News

• "The Single-A Potomac Nationals scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth frame to topple Frederick 6-1 in a must win Game 4 at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Va." - "Potomac rallies to extend series; Harrisburg eliminated" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• Class-A Potomac: "Adam Olbrychowski kept the Nationals in the game with an outstanding start. He went five and a third innings, allowed just one run on six hits and struck out five." - "6-1 Win Sends Series to Game Five" - Potomac Nationals News

• Double-A Harrisburg: "[Tanner] Roark was outstanding, striking out 10 batters and allowing just six hits in seven strong innings of work. Cory VanAllen pitched a scoreless eighth for the Sens." - "Senators Swept Out of the Playoffs by Richmond with 2-1 Loss" - Harrisburg Senators News

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

• NATSTOWN: 

• "When Johnson gave Strasburg the hook while the Nats were batting in their half of the third, he knew Strasburg wasn't going to like it." - "Strasburg's shortened start the prudent course of action" - MASNSports.com, Nationals Buzz: Dave Nichols

• "The Washington Nationals are on pace to finish the season better than any year since their inaugural season in 2005." - "With Less Than Three Weeks Left, How Will The Washington Nationals End Their Season?" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• SHARKNATSTOWN:

• "While the Shark is still hampered by his hand injury, which has limited his playing time, he has still managed to dominate on the base paths." - "PR Shark" - Sharkadina

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "Peace has much to do with warm-heartedness and respect for the lives of others." - 

BACK TO NATSTOWN: 

• "The bottom line for Strasburg certainly wasn't bad by any means -- one earned run on three hits, with no walks and four strikeouts -- but his velocity was down a bit and he had trouble locating his fastball..." - "GAME 144 REVIEW: Nats Bounce Back with Big Win over Astros"- Dave Nichols, Nationals News Network

• "Even the racing presidents showed solidarity, running their 4th-inning course wearing their new patriotic uniforms in single file behind our first president George Washington..." - "George and the racing presidents commemorate 9/11" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "August and September are clearly a 'regular season tryout' for Wang, with the team having carried him for the last two seasons to the tune of $3m guaranteed." - "Did the Nats screw up by not getting a 2012 Club option on Wang?" - Nationals Arm Race

• NL EAST UPDATES: 

Marlins: "On Saturday, Sanchez threw his third career one-hitter and second of the season. He also has a no-hitter to his credit." - "Sanchez Florida Marlins’ club leader in low-hit outings" - Clark Spencer, MiamiHerald.com

Mets: "In a decision that's already drawing plenty of criticism — and rightfully so — league officials said the Mets could not wear hats with 'FDNY' and 'NYPD' printed on them..." - "Mets’ plans to wear first responder caps thwarted by MLB" - 'Duk, Big League Stew - MLB Blog - Yahoo! Sports

Phillies: "The Phillies had won Worley's last 14 starts dating to May 29, one short of the franchise record set when Steve Carlton was on the mound in 1972." - "Worley's streak ends in Phillies loss" - Collin Fly, MiamiHerald.com

Braves: "The three-game series sweep has allowed the Cardinals to close a 7.5-game deficit in the Wild Card chase to just 4.5 games. And so it is that hope lives on." - "So You're Saying There's A Chance: Comparing the Remaining Schedules of the Atlanta Braves & the St. Louis Cardinals" - bgh, Viva El Birdos

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