Wire Taps: Washington Nationals And Miami Marlins Renew Rivalry In Giancarlo Stanton's Favorite Park.

Apr 8, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Miami Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez (left), right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (center), and catcher John Buck (right) watch batting practice before the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

The Miami Marlins (7-6) have won five of their last six games, including four-straight to end their first homestand of the year in the new Marlins Park. Giancarlo (aka Mike) Stanton, who's battled a knee injury that is expected to linger all season, has yet to hit his first HR of 2012, but he told Miami Herald writer Manny Navarro yesterday in an article entitled, "Florida Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton waiting for first home run", that he isn't pressing. "'Last year it took me forever to hit my first one,' Stanton said Thursday, referring to how it took him 14 games and 38 at-bats before he finally put one out." Where did Stanton hit that first HR? It was at home in Florida. Had it been in Nationals Park, that would have been great for the sake of this introduction. But the 22-year-old Marlins' slugger has to be happy to be heading back to the Washington Nationals' home tonight where he's got a .410/.471/.934 career line over 15 games and 70 plate appearances in which he's hit eight doubles and eight home runs over his first three seasons in the majors. Giancarlo Stanton owns Nats Park, but this is a new Nats' pitching staff, and a new Nationals team (now with ++NatiTUDE!) that starts the three-game season-opening-homestand-ending series. The Nationals dropped the finale of their four-game set with the Astros last night, but they're 10-4 so far this year, having won 8 of their last 10, and now it's time to see if they can beat a Marlins team that has won 36 of the last 54 against their divisional rivals from D.C. Fish vs Nats tonight at 7:05 pm, till then it's LINKS and lots of 'em, RIGHT NOW!!!

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "'He's taken good routes,' [Mike] Rizzo said. 'His throwing is really improved. His accuracy in throwing has improved.'" - Rizzo on Bryce Harper - "Rizzo on Harper, Moore and Brown" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• NATS BEAT:

• "If the Detroit Tigers had inquired about left-handed starter John Lannan, it's likely that any interest they had has since disappeared." - "Report: Washington Nationals unable to find any takers for left-hander John Lannan" - James Schmehl, MLive.com

• "The clubhouse culture has changed. Manager Davey Johnson spent the spring telling anyone who would listen he expects to contend." - "View from the top is a rare one for Nationals in April" - Nathan Fenno, Washington Times

• "'If you’re going to win, 25 guys have got to do their thing,' Johnson said. 'My job is to basically make sure they’re in position to do their thing.'" - "Nationals bench rotation remains in flux" - Gene Wang, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Houston's one-run lead increased to six by the time [Tom] Gorzelanny had recorded three outs in the sixth..." - "Nationals Pastime: Werth battling hip injury, Gorzelanny ineffective in Nats' loss" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The Washington Nationals' rotation was due for a stinker. Little did anyone expect it would be one that would make history." - "Nationals' staff finally throws a dud" - Kevin Dunleavy, Washington Examiner

• "There's a valid argument to be made that no National League teams improved this offseason as much as the Nationals and Marlins." - "Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals - April 20, 2012" - Adam Berry, MLB.com Preview

• "After striking out Jordan Schafer to begin the game, [Edwin] Jackson allowed a triple, single, single, triple, triple and single." - "Jackson undeterred after rough first inning and first loss" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "The high point of Davey Johnson’s day came when he revealed during his afternoon media briefing that he had discovered the reason for his scratchy throat." - "Long night for Jackson and Nationals" - Rich Dubroff, CSNWashington.com

• "'Basically [Jackson] was throwing all right, but his location was pretty much down the middle, it looked liked to me,' Manager Davey Johnson said.'" - "Edwin Jackson steadies himself after rocky beginning" - Gene Wang, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'Anytime you give up six runs in a game, that’s a little bit difficult to swallow,' Gorzelanny said. 'It doesn’t matter what the [expletive] the score is.'" - "Tom Gorzelanny can't keep game within reach for Nats in relief" - Mike DeFabo, Washington Times

• "The bulk of [Bryce] Harper's outfield experience coming into this season was at the corner spots, but he's playing primarily in center at Syracuse..." - "Nationals Pastime: Rizzo on Harper's slow start, development in center" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "It didn't count for much in the end, but [Ryan] Zimmerman's three-run bomb in the bottom of the third was the latest sign that the Face of the Franchise's bat is starting to come around." - "Instant analysis: Astros 11, Nats 4" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Triple-A Syracuse outfielder Bryce Harper is off to his usual slow start. Entering Thursday's action, Harper is 13-for-57 (.232) with an RBI, but Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said he is not concerned..." - "Nationals not worried about Harper" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Doctors told [Brad] Lidge the vertigo stemmed from an issue with the calcium stones in his inner ear that regulate balance. That left his world spinning." - "Brad Lidge's bout with vertigo plus Nationals-Astros lineups" - Nathan Fenno, Washington Times

• "'This is baseball,' [Tom] Gorzelanny said. 'Stuff like this happens. You’ve got to be able to bounce back from it and get over it quickly.'" - "Gorzelanny left in game ‘to take it on the chin’" - Gene Wang, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "[Ryan] Zimmerman said he’d never seen what Houston accomplished in the first inning -- three triples in a span of five batters." - "This Nats loss easy to write off" - Kevin Dunleavy, Washington Examiner

• "'The first inning was just a matter of making a couple of pitches,' [Edwin] Jackson said. 'I put myself in some good positions to make pitches to get out of the inning.'" - "Houston Astros at Washington Nationals - April 19, 2012" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "For the last two weeks, Ryan Zimmerman's been talking about how he feels like he's swinging the bat well, but just isn't getting the results." - "Nationals Pastime: It's a ballgame again (now it's not)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Edwin] Jackson struggled enough that Nationals manager Davey Johnson, raspy-voiced and red-eyed from allergies, wondered if he was ill." - "Edwin Jackson's inconsistency rears its ugly head in Nats' 11-4 loss" - Nathan Fenno, Washington Times

• "Six of the first seven batters [Tom] Gorzelanny faced hit safely, including [Bud] Norris who laced a one-out single to left field with the bases loaded to make it 7-4." - "Nationals vs. Astros: Edwin Jackson, Tom Gorzelanny each have a rough inning in rare unraveling by Washington pitchers" - Gene Wang, The Washington Post

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "Even without a religious perspective, love and compassion are clearly of fundamental importance to us all."

• NATS MINORS:

• "Although the franchise has been extremely pleased with what they have seen from [Tyler] Moore, he is not considered a substitute for an injured Michael Morse (left lat injury)." - "Updates on Tyler Moore, Corey Brown and Brian Goodwin" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Asked if he could see [Tyler] Moore playing left field if Michael Morse is unable to come back from his torn right lat [back] injury, [Mike] Rizzo said, 'That's too many ifs for me.'" - "Moore to see action in left field" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

Class-A Hagerstown: "Third baseman Matt Skole belted the first pitch he saw in the 10th inning over the right center field wall to give the Hagerstown Suns (7-8) an 11-9 walk-off victory..." - "Skole Blasts Walk-Off Homer, Suns Beat Lakewood 11-9" - Hagerstown Suns News

Class-A Potomac: "The Potomac Nationals broke a tie game open with five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning as they beat the Salem Red Sox by the final score of 10-4." - "Five-Run Sixth Sparks P-Nats to Victory" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: Senators 6, Thunder 2 - Destin Hood - 3 for 5, 1 R, 1 RBI; Mike Ballard - 6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K's - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

Triple-A Syracuse: "The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, lost 11-7 Thursday afternoon at Alliance Bank Stadium, as the Pawtucket Red Sox completed a four-game series sweep." - "Red Sox outslug Chiefs in series finale" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "Corey Brown didn’t trust his own eyes. The Syracuse Chiefs outfielder was striking out too much. He hoped the answer was simple, physical." - "Seeing the future - Specialized glasses helping Chiefs lead-off hitter Corey Brown strikeout less, get on base more" - Ben Meyers, The Auburn Citizen

• "Last Night In Woodbridge" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• NATSTOWN:

• "On this day in 1951 the Washington Senators invited Harry S. Truman the 33rd President of the United States of America to throw out the first pitch at the team’s home opener on April 20, 1951." - "This Day in D.C. Baseball History – President Truman Greeted by Boo-Birds" - Mark Hornbaker, D.C. Baseball History

• "Thursday was National High Five Day, and even if presidents race fans are unfamiliar with the holiday, it should come as no surprise that it did not escape the attention of one Theodore Roosevelt." - "Video: Teddy gives priority to National High Five Day" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "Gorzelosing." - Nats Enquirer

• "An announced crowd of 18,045 saw the home team fall into a hole, hustle back, but fall after the mid-point of the contest on a beautiful night on the banks of the Anacostia River." - "Washington Nationals Game 14 Review: Jackson, Gorzelanny roughed up by Astros in series finale" - Anthony Amobi, District Sports Page

• "Steve Lombardozzi has been absolutely ridiculous in limited plate appearances. He went 2-for-5 on Thursday and is 8-for-17 with three walks on the season..." - "Nationals Lose In Ugly Fashion, Still Take 3 of 4 from Astros" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• NL EAST RIVALS:

Marlins: "Of the 68 teams since 2002 that began the campaign 4-6, 14 of them (21 percent) finished with 90 or more victories and all of them made the playoffs. Teams that have won between seven and 10 of their first 10 games have gone on to 90-plus win campaigns 46 percent of the time since 2002." - "Miami Marlins: Beating the Astros Sunday greatly improved chances for 90-win season" - Juan C. Rodriguez, Sun-Sentinel

Phillies: "The Phillies have scored 37 runs in 13 games. They have walked only 22 times and have just one more extra base hit. The team that used to be known for its power has only 6 home runs." - "Phillies 2012 Offense: Worst Offense Ever?" - David S. Cohen, The Good Phight

Mets: "It is impressive that Johan Santana is out there, but he’s no No. 1 yet. The two-time Cy Young Award winner’s reemergence from major shoulder surgery is astounding , but he has not yet recorded an out in the sixth inning." - "Experts see positives with Johan Santana, NY Mets early in season" - Andy Martino, NY Daily News

Braves: "Chipper Jones was out of the lineup for the second consecutive day on Thursday, but should return soon. The Braves third baseman had fluid build up in his left knee after the long flight from Atlanta." - "Atlanta Braves at Arizona Diamondbacks - April 20, 2012" '- AJ Cassavell, MLB.com Preview

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