Wire Taps: 3rd Place Washington Nationals And Last Place Florida Marlins Start Weekend Series.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 15: Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals hits against the New York Mets in the third inning at Citi Field on September 15, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

• Programming Notes: The Washington Nationals have won five straight and six of the last seven to pull themselves within six games of .500 with thirteen games left on the 2011 schedule. John Lannan vs Javier Vazquez tonight, Stephen Strasburg vs Chris Volstad on Saturday night and Chien-Ming Wang and Brad Hand on Sunday. The Nats play three with the Fish this weekend and three more in Florida to end the season. Entering play today, the Nationals are 4-8 against the Marlins. Lannan's (0-1) in two starts and 10.2 IP in 2011 against the Nats' NL East rivals, who enter play today 67-83 on the season, 5.0 games behind the Nats...MASN 2 HD, MLB.tv, 106.7 the FAN in D.C., 1500 WFED, Sirius/XM ch. 186. Who's Watching The Nationals?

• LINKS AND LINKS AND...

• NATS BEAT: 

• "The Nationals are looking for a full-time center fielder for 2012. Ankiel’s .306 on-base percentage and 87 OPS+ this season does not make him much of a candidate for that spot..." - "As Jayson Werth plays with sore knee, Rick Ankiel stands out in center field" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'How many four-game sweeps are there in baseball, period?' asked reliever Todd Coffey..." - "Tommy Milone gets first big-league win in Nats' 10-1 rout of Mets" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Another ugly loss at the end of an atrocious homestand at Citi Field left Mets manager Terry Collins furious yesterday -- and with some accusatory words toward his team." - "Mets' latest loss ends 1-8 homestand" - Dan Martin, NYPOST.com

• "Rick Ankiel is arguably the best center fielder in Nationals history." - "Ankiel takes pride in defense" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "It's been a frustrating and at times bizarre season in South Florida, and it's only gotten more frustrating and more bizarre as it winds down." - "Series preview: Marlins at Nats" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "It seems odd that the biggest relief out could come in a 10-1 beatdown, but at one point the game was far more tense than the final outcome suggested." - "Todd Coffey is dominating right-handed hitters" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "A happy Milone received three game balls, a small blue lineup card and a shaving cream pie in the face." - "Washington Nationals at New York Mets: Milone gets first victory as Nats sweep Mets" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "The question for Gorzelanny now is which path will become his future -- and if it will include the Nationals." - "Success as a reliever leaves Tom Gorzelanny at a crossroads" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Nationals manager Davey Johnson was planning to give outfielder Jayson Werth the day off Thursday afternoon against the Mets, but Werth was able to talk him out of it." - "Instead of day off, Werth talks way into lineup" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Washington is the fourth city of Florida's road trip. This is only the 11th time in the 11-year history of the franchise that the club has hit four cities on one trip." - "Florida Marlins at Washington Nationals: On a roll, Nationals head home to face Marlins" - Cash Kruth, MLB.com Preview

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "Cultivating love advances the wish that living beings deprived of happiness meet with happiness and its causes." - 

• NATSTOWN: 

• "Jeff Zimmerman of Fangraphs did a PitchFX analysis of his first start and found that Strasburg’s fastball speeds were about 1 mph slower than last year’s." - "Should Strasburg pitch to contact?" - Nats Noodles

• "A reminder; the rotation is now Milone-Lannan-Strasburg-Detwiler-Wang after Detwiler got skipped when the last Dodger game was cancelled." - "Nats Rotation Cycle #30: good/bad/soso" - Nationals Arm Race

• "Thursday, Milone’s pinpoint control was maybe a little off, but he made up for that with being nearly unhittable..." - "GAME 148 REVIEW: Milone Earns First MLB Win in 10-1 Drubbing of Mets" - Dave Nichols, Nationals News Network

• "Another game, another first Major League Win by a Nats rookie starter, another shaving cream pie during postgame interview." - "Tommy Milone earns first Major League win, shaving cream pie" - Nats Enquirer

• "The opinions of the Washington Nationals brass of the lanky shortstop are almost legend, going back to when former GM Jim Bowden compared him (favorably) to Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter." - "The "Real" Ian Desmond?" - Dave Nichols, Nationals News Network

• NL EAST UPDATES: 

Marlins: "Hanley Ramirez underwent an 'open' surgical repair of his injured left shoulder Thursday." - "Florida Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez undergoes surgery on shoulder" - Florida Marlins - MiamiHerald.com

Phillies: "As anyone who has read Billy Beane's* classic Moneyball knows, the 2002 MLB amateur draft comprised one of the dramatic centerpieces to the book..." - "Phillies and the 2002 'Moneyball' Draft" - Whole Camels, The Good Phight

Braves: "While he has been one of the worst hitters in the National League for most of the season, Braves shortstop Alex Gonzalez has hit .395 in September with six extra-base hits and nine RBIs in 12 games." - "Alex Gonzalez seeks playoff success, and Gold Glove" - David O'Brien, ajc.com

Random MLB: "'I'm not happy,' said [Francisco] Rodriguez. 'That's the bottom line for me. They told me one thing; they haven't done it. And I stand by what I said.'" - "Melvin downplays Fielder, K-Rod comments" - Tom Haudricourt, JSOnline

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