Wire Taps: Washington Nationals' Weekend In Review; Stephen Strasburg Starts Tonight.

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 23: Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on September 23, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

• So? The Verizon Center tonight for the Caps/Bruins? Or NatsTown where Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals take on the Houston Astros? Who's going to miss a Stras start? (ed. note - "Okay, it's the playoffs, I understand, Caps fans. Just DVR Strasburg's awesomeness.") The Washington Nationals start a four-game series with the Houston Astros tonight at 7-3 after losing the finale of the four-game set with the Cincinnati Reds, who showed a lot of Cincinnatitude in yesterday's win. (ed. note - "That Votto guy's a hoot.") Last time out in New York, Strasburg walked three and K'd 9 in 6.0 scoreless against the Mets, leaving the right-hander with four walks and 14 K's in 13.0 IP two starts into the 2012 season. The Houston Astros come to D.C. with a (4-5) record, having lost four of their last five to the Braves and Marlins. The Nationals have to beat teams like Houston this year if they're serious about competing. Last season, the 106-loss 'Stros took 3 of 6 from the Nationals and two of three in Nats Park. Gotta beat the bad teams. It's up to Strasburg tonight to start the series with a curly-W...

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "'Some of us have never had a manager who treats us like big leaguers. [Davey Johnson] has the track record to do it,' said another Nat, requesting anonymity." - "Washington Nationals are off to a fast start — and they will need it" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "There was plenty more that transpired over the ensuing 3 1/2 hours, both good and bad, that led to the Nationals' 8-5, 11-inning loss and a sobering end to their five-game winning streak." - "Blown calls, missed opportunities" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "[Ross] Detwiler allowed five runs today over five innings, but only one of the runs was earned. As I described earlier, three tough calls went against Detwiler in the first inning..." - "Questionable calls leave Detwiler at a loss" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "But [Tyler] Clippard insisted his arm is fine, the discomfort was nothing outside the ordinary pattern of his career and he felt 'really good.' He didn’t struggle to warm up." - "Nats' pitching woes show up early and late in 11-inning loss to Reds" - Nathan Fenno, Washington Times

• "After Washington got five innings of scoreless relief from four different pitchers, Tyler Clippard surrendered four hits and three runs as Cincinnati snapped Washington's five-game winning streak." - "Nationals' bid at sweep falls short" - Kevin Dunleavy, Washington Examiner

• "Reds infielder/outfielder Willie Harris is not surprised the Nationals are off to a great start." - "Former Nat Harris likes what he sees in DC" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Drew Storen could move his right arm freely today, free from the sling he had worn since undergoing surgery Wednesday to remove bone chips from his elbow." - "Without Drew Storen, the Nationals’ bullpen is holding steady" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "It's been a welcome sight for the Nationals, who three years ago fully expected [Jesus] Flores to blossom into their long-term catching answer, until a major shoulder injury derailed his career." - "Flores stays sharp despite lack of ABs" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "I know I said we don't worry about that. And I'm not worried about it. But we have guys who have swing-and-miss stuff. So I'm certainly not going to go back and say: 'Hey, quit striking out guys!'" - Steve McCatty "On the starters' high strikeout numbers" - "Clubhouse Cliff Notes" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'My bench, to me, is as important as it has ever been. If you are going to win a pennant, 25 guys have to contribute and it has to fit. So it's not just a haphazard thing putting a bench together,' Johnson said." - "Sitting on Nats' bench is not a bad thing" - Craig Heist, WTOP.com

• "Entering Sunday's action, the Nationals' bullpen had a 1.98 ERA with two saves. The bullpen will be even better once closer Drew Storen returns from his right elbow injury." - "Storen looking forward to rejoining 'pen" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Despite the 8-5 loss Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds, the Nationals are still off to their best start since arriving in Washington, D.C., for the ..." - "Despite loss to Reds, 7-3 start marks best in recent D.C. history, but is it the schedule?" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "'It’s frustrating,' [Ryan] Zimmerman said. 'But, you know, it’s 10 games. It’s not going to be the last time I hit whatever I’m hitting for 10 games.'" - "Ryan Zimmerman still looking for hits, but he’s taking away plenty" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Back in September, Strasburg remained on something of a pseudo-rehab assignment, his recovery from Tommy John surgery complete but his return to peak form still a work in progress." - "Are Strasburg starts still a big deal?" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "I was only 20 years old when the Senators brought me up back in 1959, but living in Washington was something very special. The fans were very loyal, and they loved the Senators." - Jim Kaat - "Kaat: 'Washington deserves a winning team'" - Jim Williams, Washington Examiner

• "Entering Saturday, Washington pitchers had a 1.92 ERA, the best in the major leagues. They were second in strikeouts with 79, two fewer than the Dodgers. There's nothing fluky about it..." - "Nationals pitch through injuries" - Phil Wood, Washington Examiner

• "The Nationals had the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the 11th against Reds closer Sean Marshall, but they were unable to do any damage." - "Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals - April 15, 2012" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "Davey Johnson revealed after today's game that All-Star reliever Tyler Clippard is battling some shoulder discomfort, although it wasn't enough to keep him out of today's game." - "Clippard battling minor shoulder discomfort" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Tyler] Clippard did not pitch Saturday, but he did warm up in the eighth inning. He had trouble getting loose, Johnson said, with soreness in his right shoulder." - "Nationals vs. Reds: Washington battles back from deficit only to fall in 11th inning" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "Coming off a 106-loss season a year ago, the Astros know that building off their best start since 2006 won't be easy, especially against [Stephen] Strasburg." - "Houston Astros at Washington Nationals - April 16, 2012" - Paul Casella, MLB.com Preview

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "Having a more compassionate attitude helps you communicate more easily with your fellow human beings."

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Hagerstown: "Suns starting pitcher Wirkin Estevez dealt a no-hitter through five innings before allowing a lead-off single in the sixth inning." - "Estevez Tosses Five No-Hit Innings, But Suns Fall 7-4" - Hagerstown Suns News

Class-A Potomac: "Evan Gattis was 5-for-6 with a home run and a career-high 6 RBIs as the Lynchburg Hillcats pounded out a season-high 20 hits en route to a 13-2 rout of the Potomac Nationals." - "HILLCAT HYSTERIA: LYNCHBURG 13-2 OVER POTOMAC"- Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: Senators 3, Phillies 9 - Josh Johnson - 3 for 3, 1 2B; Robert Gilliam - 5.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 6 K's - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

Triple-A Syracuse: "Leading off the top of the second inning, [Tyler] Moore powered an opposite field solo home run to right field - his league-leading fifth of 2012." - "Moore, Chiefs power past Yankees, 7-2" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "Tyler Moore is starting to steal the spotlight. Moore hit his International League-leading fifth home run as the Syracuse Chiefs topped the nomadic Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees on Sunday, 7-2." - "Moore hits another HR, potential LF start, as Chiefs win" - Ben Meyers, auburnpub.com

• "A Few Minor Moves" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• "[Bryce] Harper is off to his usual slow start in Syracuse, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially considering he is the youngest players in the International League." - "Washington Nationals Minor League and Prospect Report — Week Ending April 15" - Tyler Radecki, DistrictSportspage.com

• "Appearing on Sports Radio 106.7 The Fan's 'Nats Insider' Sunday night, Chiefs manager Tony Beasley confirmed that Moore would start in left field Monday." - "it's official: Tyler Moore to start in left field Monday night for Syracuse" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• NATSTOWN:

• "Neither [Ross] Detwiler's luckless outing nor the 11th-inning implosion by Tyler Clippard can obscure the fact that the 2012 Nationals remain the best pitching staff in the National League." - "Always springtime in D.C." - Nationals Buzz: Ted Leavengood, MASNSports.com

• "'You know, they showed a lot of Natitude the first three games; we showed some Cincinattitude in the last game.'" - "Joey Votto says Reds have Cincinnatitude" - Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• "American League players drawn by Vic Johnson – Jackie Jensen" - Jim Vankoski, D.C. Baseball History

• "In his latest showing of displeasure with Teddy's ongoing losing streak in the Presidents Race, Jayson Werth ran through the finish line before the start of Sunday's race." - "Jayson Werth messed with the Presidents Race again" - Nats Enquirer

• "As promised, here’s the full video of today’s presidents race, in which Jayson Werth busted across the finish line before the race began." - "Video: Werth runs across the finish line. Teddy doesn’t." - Let Teddy Win!

• "Ultimately, some bad umpiring in the first inning only served to show the resiliency of this Washington Nationals team." - "Washington Nationals Game 10 Review: Nats comeback, only to eventually fall in extras to Reds, 8-5" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "A few games into the season, Werth looks very comfortable. He’s already got two doubles and a triple, which is good to see." - "10 Days Worth of Hitting" - The Nationals Review

• "It’s been almost two weeks since Davey Johnson pulled a switch-a-roo and announced Ross Detwiler as the Nats’ fifth starter after previously announcing John Lannan was 'his guy.'" - "Lannan and Detwiler: The Decision 10 Days In" - Keara Dowd, Win For Teddy

• "A hot start like this isn't sustainable (sorry to be the first to tell you - the Nats aren't going to win 113 games) and I don't want the story to become 'What happened to the Nats?!'" - "Monday Quickie" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "I’d say he’s back to his old self, but maybe Flores is even better." - "Jesus Flores is making it look easy" - Jenn Jenson, NatsFangirl.com

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Braves/Mets: "In the six games following the Braves series, the Mets hit .217 as a team with 15 extra-base hits (nine doubles, six HR)..." - "Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets Series Preview" - TonyAlmeyda, Talking Chop

Mets: "Jason Bay jokingly called it an 'epidemic' going around the Mets clubhouse." - "New York Mets' Jason Bay Confident Jammed Finger Won't Mean DL Stint; LF Questionable Against Atlanta Monday" - CBS New York

Braves: "Atlanta Braves great and current broadcaster John Smoltz will have his No. 29 retired on-field in a pregame ceremony on June 8, the same day he'll also be inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame during a luncheon." - "Braves to retire John Smotlz's No. 29 in a pregame ceremony on June 8" - Evan Dreilich, braves.com: News

Marlins: "It took four games, but a Miami Marlins player finally conquered the vast expanse of the Marlins Park outfield on Sunday, setting the much-buzzed about "home run sculpture" into action for the first time." - "Omar Infante activates Marlins sculpture for first time, home run ball ends up with lingerie model" - Kevin Kaduk, Big League Stew - Yahoo! Sports

Phillies/Mets: "The lightning rod that is Mike Pelfrey actually performed well enough yesterday to give the Mets a series sweep of the Phillies." - "Mets lose to Phillies" Mike Puma, NYPOST.com

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