Wire Taps: Washington Nationals' Jordan Zimmermann Needs Your Support, Gio Reviews.

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 13: Jordan Zimmermann #27 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the Cincinnati Reds at Nationals Park on April 13, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

• Four of the Washington Nationals nine wins so far this season have come in one-run games, including last night's 1-0 win over the Houston Astros. Asked in last night's post game press conference if the Nats could keep winning close games, manager Davey Johnson told reporters, "Yeah. It's not easy on me, but yeah, we've got the guys that... we actually like it when it's close like that. It puts more on every at bat, every pitch. We're playing games kind of like in a pennant race and they stand you good stead for later on in the season. But good teams win close ballgames." The Nationals should prepare themselves for another close game tonight, at least as long as Jordan Zimmermann's on the mound, since the Nationals, for some reason, tend to offer their 25-year-old right-hander little in the way of run support. The '07 2nd Round pick makes his third start of the season, and the Nats look to win their third-straight against the Astros and the sixth of seven so far on the current eleven-game homestand. 7:05 pm EDT tonight. Until then, busy yourself with the links. And you can start, RIGHT NOW!!!!:

• THE BIG STORY:

• "The Nationals have dabbled in preliminary conversations with the agent for right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, a person with knowledge of the situation said." - "Could Jordan Zimmermann be the next young pitcher to sign an extension?" - The Nationals are considering it." - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "Everyone expected the Nationals to be good in 2012, but probably not No.-3-in-the-Power-Rankings-good." - "World Series opponents St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers on top" - SI.com

• "Through the first 11 games, Washington is second in the National League in pitches per plate appearance with 3.92. And yet it has the third-lowest percentage of looking strikes." - "Patient aggressiveness paying dividends for Nationals" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "It was another overpowering outing which saw [GIo] Gonzalez outmatch Astros hitters, striking out eight, including three in a row to set down the side in the second inning." - "Another gem from Gio" - Dan Kolko, Nationals Pastime, MASNSports.com

• "As much as Tommy John surgery has practically become surgical fast food, there were concerns about how [Stephen] Strasburg would recover. Would he ever recover?" - "Stephen Strasburg Is Different And The Same And Amazing" - Jeff Sullivan, Baseball Nation

• "'It was exciting,' said left-hander Gio Gonzalez, even though his seven-inning gem was on the verge of being blown up. 'I have all the confidence in the world in our bullpen.'" - "No margin for error? No problem" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Major League Baseball released the Draft order for the event on Tuesday, officially putting the Astros on the clock with the first pick." - "Selection order for 2012 Draft announced" - Jonathan Mayo, nationals.com: News

• "His first name sounds like an economy car. And Tuesday night at Nationals Park, Gio Gonzalez drove the Nats past the Houston Astros in an economic effort." - "Gio is driving force in Nats' win" - Kevin Dunleavy, Washington Examiner

• "In the four days between his previous start and today, Jordan Zimmermann needed to figure out whatever horrible thing he did to scorn the baseball gods and repent." - "Now it’s Jordan Zimmermann’s turn" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie led off the inning with a double just inside the right field line. Left fielder J.D. Martinez followed with a walk. Houston had men on first and second with nobody out." - "Experience helps Lidge survive rocky ninth to send Nationals to another victory" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "[Davey] Johnson and [Gio] Gonzalez joked about when the barber was arriving to cut Gonzalez’s hair, seemingly a daily appointment." - "Gio Gonzalez dazzles again at Nats Park, earns 1-0 win vs. Astros" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Early Tuesday afternoon, Nationals manager Davey Johnson surprised right-hander Edwin Jackson by presenting him with the World Series ring he earned as a member of the 2011 Cardinals." - "Jackson gets his 2011 World Series ring" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Every time [Wilson] Ramos goes into his crouch with a Nationals starting pitcher on the mound and puts down one finger on his right hand — the universal symbol for fastball — the baseball rockets to him at a dizzying rate of speed." - "Washington Nationals pitchers are bringing the heat" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "When the Nationals broke camp in Florida and headed north to open the season, there was no player on the roster more locked-in at the plate than Mark DeRosa." - "Slow start doesn't faze DeRosa" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "The question now going forward is whether this pattern can continue. Can the Nats continue to win one-run ballgames and rack up the victories even without big offensive numbers?" - "Can they keep this up?" Nationals Pastime, Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'Nasty,' center fielder Jayson Werth said about [Gio] Gonzalez's performance. 'His ball was moving all over the place. He's got good stuff. He was great.'" - "Houston Astros at Washington Nationals - April 17, 2012" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "[Gio] Gonzalez was nothing short of spectacular as he mowed down the Stros', throwing shutout ball over seven innings and allowing just two hits while striking out eight batters." - "Gio throws up zeroes" - Craig Heist, WTOP.com

• "The Nationals needed Gonzalez’s electric left arm to beat the Houston Astros, 1-0, and they needed his relaxed vibes to survive the scare closer Brad Lidge provided in the ninth." - "Nationals-Astros: Gio Gonzalez dominates for second straight time at Nationals Park" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "The start of the 2012 season for [Brad] Lidge hasn't been the smoothest one. His stuff isn't yet where he wants it to be. Tuesday night, he felt his slider was up." - "Lidge's second save of the season not without dramatics" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "During the Nationals' 9-3 start -- the franchise's best since the 1981 Expos started 10-2 -- [Jordan] Zimmermann has allowed just two earned runs over 14 innings of work in his two starts." - "Houston Astros at Washington Nationals - April 18, 2012" - Paul Casella, MLB.com Preview

• "According to [Davey] Johnson, [Mark] DeRosa has been a valuable player on the team. He has been a positive influence in the clubhouse and on the field. Johnson has often called DeRosa one of his coaches." - "Johnson: DeRosa's value extends beyond stats" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "Developing inner values is much like physical exercise. The more we train our abilities, the stronger they become."

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Hagerstown: "Suns starting pitcher Alex Meyer (1-2) suffered the loss in five innings, giving up three runs while striking out a career high seven batters." - "Skole Adds to RBI Total in Suns Loss" - Hagerstown Suns News

Class-A Potomac: "Rob Wort got out of a bases loaded no-out jam in the ninth to earn the save in Potomac's 5-3 win over the Frederick Keys." - "NATIONALS HOLD ONTO 5-3 WIN OVER KEYS" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: Senators 4, Curve 0 - Jeff Mandel - 2 for 3, 3 RBI's; Jeff Mandel - 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K's - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

Triple-A Syracuse: "For Syracuse (3-9), [Yunesky] Maya turned in one of his best professional performances with seven and one-third scoreless innings." - "Ninth-inning run leads Red Sox past Chiefs" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "A pitching duel between Yunesky Maya and Justin Germano went into the eighth as Ryan Lavarnway won it with a ninth-inning home run for Pawtucket." - "Chiefs lose on 9th inning Lavarnway HR" - Ben Meyers, The Auburn Citizen

• "Wednesday’s News & Notes" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• NATSTOWN:

• "April 18, 1960 - Playing their last season in Washington, the original Senators start the season with a 10-1 win over the Boston Red Sox." - "This Date in Washington Senators History" - Art Audley, D.C. Baseball History

• "As it stands, the Nats' five-man starting rotation is 9-3 with a combined ERA of 1.69, a major league best and nearly three-quarters of a point lower than the team with the second-best mark (Texas at 2.43)." - "Arms race redefines game's growth from traditional to modern" - Nationals Buzz: Rachel Levitin, MASNSports.com

• "The Space Shuttle Discovery’s flight to its final resting place went right over South Capital Street Tuesday morning..." - "Video: Teddy stops to look for the Shuttle Discovery" - Let Teddy Win!

• "Perhaps the most riveting video so far of the 2012 Washington Nationals season? See above: Davey Johnson reacts to a fire alarm during his pregame press conference..." - "Video: Davey Johnson's press conference interrupted by fire alarm." - Nats Enquirer

• "In Tuesday’s game against the Houston Astros, the Washington Nationals continued their season trend: absurdly good pitching combined with very little offense." - "Nat Gio Strikes Again In Another Low-Scoring Curly W" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "Do the Nationals have the best starting rotation in baseball? That’s the question being asked by MLB pundits in the wake of a duel of lefties at Nationals Park on Tuesday..." - "Another Gio Gem" - Mark, Centerfield Gate

• "0,1,2,0,1,1. Those are the number of runs scored by the Nationals at the time Jordan Zimmermann exited his last 6 games." - "The Zimmermann game" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Marlins: "Signed to a three-year, $27 million contract over the winter, [Heath] Bell isn’t used to failing. Over the past three years in San Diego, he blew just 14 combined saves while converting an average of 44 per year." - "Miami Marlins closer Heath Bell fixes the problem, finally comes through" - Mike Berardino, Sun-Sentinel

Phillies: "[Cliff] Lee takes the ball aiming to give the Phillies a rare feat -- winning a series in AT&T Park. The Phillies have won just four of 13 series by the bay dating back to 2000." - "Philadelphia Phillies at San Francisco Giants - April 18, 2012" - Jon Star, MLB.com Preview

Mets: "Despite some fan objections, Jose Reyes will be recognized Tuesday in the same manner as other former Mets in their first trips back to New York in another uniform." - "Mets morning briefing 4.18.12" - Adam Rubin, Mets Blog - ESPN New York

Braves: "After a rough Spring Training and a rocky start to 2012, Atlanta pitching prospect Julio Teheran appears to be back on track." - "Teheran dominant again in third start" - Ashley Marshall, MiLB.com News

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