Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Look To Stephen Strasburg To Stop Three-Game Slide.

May 9, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Erik Bedard (45) throws a warmup pitch before the start of the game against the Washington Nationals during the first inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

"I liked the matchups we had," Davey Johnson said of the opportunities the Washington Nationals wasted last night in the Nats' 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, "And the situations we had men in scoring position, and we just didn't swing the bats. We swung and missed too many times." Two K's in particular, by Danny Espinosa and Rick Ankiel with the bases loaded and one out against Bucs' reliever Jason Grilli in the eighth, had the Nats' skipper frustrated when he spoke to the press following the loss. "We had pitches to hit and we swing through them," Johnson said, "I don't know if guys are feeling too much pressure because we're having trouble generating runs, but the pitcher's in a jam, just relax and he throws it over, hit it. But tonight was especially frustrating, no doubt about it." Asked if there would be changes in the Nationals' lineup tonight, the clearly frustrated manager said, "I don't know, I'm getting over this one before I think about tomorrow." On the mound tonight, the Nats turn to 23-year-old right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who'll attempt to end the three-game losing streak against the team he debuted against back on June 8, 2010... ahh remember that night... (ed. note - "Links after the video. But relive the past...RIGHT NOW!!):

• THE BIG STORY!!!!:

• 3+4 = 7: MLB Network on comparisons between Harper and Mantle - Bill Ripken on MLB Tonight - MLB.com: Multimedia

• NATS BEAT:

• "[Stephen] Strasburg’s season will grow complicated in late summer, when the Nationals likely will remove their ace from their rotation..." - "Stephen Strasburg, healthy and ‘one of the guys,’ might be baseball’s best pitcher" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "Asked if he was going to shake up the lineup on Thursday against Pittsburgh, [Davey] Johnson said, 'I don't know. I have to get over this one before I think about tomorrow.'" - "Washington Nationals at Pittsburgh Pirates - May 9, 2012" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "Danny Espinosa is swinging and missing. He knows it, his teammates know it and his manager knows it." - "Danny Espinosa's lack of production at the plate is striking" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Above all else, [Davey] Johnson tries to abide by this mantra: Don't put players in a position where they fear the result of every single at-bat could affect their status." - "Johnson grapples with lineup"- Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Washington could've knotted the game in the eighth when they had the tying run at third and just one out, but Danny Espinosa and Rick Ankiel both struck out to end the frame." - "Nationals Pastime: Blown chances plague Nats in 4-2 loss" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "It all sounds fair, a former big leaguer drawing on his past experience to opine on a matter of interest in today’s game. The only problem is, none of the things Dibble describes ever actually happened. " - "Rob Dibble sides with Hamels" - Chase Hughes, CSNWashington.com

• "'I told him, 'I have higher expectations of you than you probably do. And he said, 'No, that's not true.' I know he has the confidence, I know he has the ability. I's just a matter of time.'" - Davey Johnson on Danny Espinosa - "Johnson knows Espinosa will come around" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "The Nationals struck out 11 times in yesterday's loss to the Pirates, marking the ninth time this season they've struck out double-digit times in a game." - "Nationals Pastime: Strikeout total rises as win total stays stagnant" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Chien-Ming] Wang will remain with Triple-A and pitch in that rotation for the remainder of his rehab assignment, however long the Nationals deem that to be..." - "Nationals won't rush Wang back from rehab assignment (plus a small update on Storen and Lidge)" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Presented with a golden opportunity after Erik Bedard departed with back spasms only eight pitches into the game, the Nationals' woebegone lineup still foundered against the Pirates bullpen." - "Instant analysis: Pirates 4, Nats 2" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Opposing [Stephen] Strasburg on Thursday is right-hander Kevin Correia, who has one win in his last nine starts dating back to last season." - "Washington Nationals at Pittsburgh Pirates - May 10, 2012" - Antony Odoardi, MLB.com Preview

• "'It never sits well when you don't take advantage of those opportunities,' [Rick] Eckstein said. 'It's what it is. It's time to look forward.'" - "Eckstein looking for better approach from hitters" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "But Wednesday night, in the visiting manager's office at PNC Park, [Davey] Johnson appeared as frustrated as he's been after a loss in his 10 1/2-month tenure." - "Davey Johnson, Rick Eckstein talk approach, opportunities lost and how the Nationals can stop missing their pitch" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'When I got to third, I was thinking of trying to score on the throw to first,' [Andrew] McCutchen said. 'He hesitated a little bit, and it was just enough to let me score.'" - "About that third inning" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "[Ian] Desmond and [Andrew] McCutchen each sized up the other. Where was Desmond throwing? Which way was McCutchen running? McCutchen sprinted home..." - "The Nationals have a weird night in Pittsburgh" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'We like when Henry [Rodriguez] is on the mound,' [Mike] Rizzo said. 'That means we are winning, and we have a good chance of pulling out a victory. I feel plenty comfortable with Henry in the ninth inning.'" - "Rizzo on Espinosa's struggles: 'They are called averages for a reason'" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "The silence that pervaded the visitor's clubhouse at PNC Park on Wednesday night was drenched in frustration. Players sat quietly at their lockers or swiftly made their way toward the showers and the waiting busses." - "Too many strikeouts, runners left on base in Nationals' latest loss" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'It's been a weird year with injuries,' Johnson said. 'In all the years I've managed, I've never seen so many accidents or whatever happen. And to key players, too.'" - "Nats hope to stay afloat after raft of injuries" - Anthony Castrovince, nationals.com: News

• "Nationals manager Davey Johnson decided to start outfielder/infielder Tyler Moore in left field on Wednesday after having a talk with third-base coach Bo Porter." - "Moore has his manager's confidence in left" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "'You've got to make contact,' he said. 'You can't drive a run in without making contact.'" - "Swing and a miss" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "With inner strength or mental stability, we can endure all kinds of adversity."

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Potomac: "In a scheduled seven inning game that started 35 minutes after the suspended game was completed, LHP Robbie Ray ran into trouble early." - "Salem, Rain Sweep Potomac" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: Flying Squirrels 8, Senators 2 - Jesus Valdez - 2 for 4, 1 2B; Paul Demny - 5.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 7 K's, 1 HR - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

Triple-A Syracuse: "[Chien-MIng] Wang allowed a run in the first inning but settled in after that. The righty from Taiwan scattered two runs on eight hits over seven innings. He threw 89 pitches with 61 registering for strikes." - "Wang, Chiefs win Wednesday night" - Syracuse Chiefs News

Triple-A Syracuse: "Lost in all of the shuffle was the solid rehab start for Chien-Ming Wang. The former 19-game winner with the Yankees before leg injuries derailed things threw 89 pitches for 61 strikes, worked seven innings and gave up just two runs. Wang induced 12 groundball outs." - "Wildest game of the season goes to Chiefs" - Ben Meyers, The Auburn Citizen

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

• NATSTOWN:

• "May 10, 1909 - Walter Johnson suffers his second straight 1-0 shutout loss, this one to the White Sox at South Side Park." - "This Date in Washington Senators History – Big Train’s consecutive scoreless innings streak at 52.2" - Art Audley, D.C. Baseball History

• "Welcome to Whiffsburgh. Population: Nats." - "Whiffsburgh" - Nats Enquirer

• "The Nationals’ offense is horrible, we all know that. But is the lineup? We all think we know what needs to be done to fix everything." - "Tweak the Offense" - The Nationals Review

• "You see, while strikeouts may be a bad thing, not getting on base and not hitting for power is far far worse." - "Do K's really matter?" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "PNC Park has never been kind to the presidents — particularly Teddy Roosevelt, who famously got leveled there by Potato Pete in 2009." - "Nationals racing presidents at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "Washington could have held Pittsburgh to only two runs, but McCutchen’s speed and a slight indecision by Desmond – who perhaps held onto the ball too long after making a backhanded fielding play — may have tipped the scales." - "Washington Nationals Game 30 Review: Nats whiff their way to third straight loss" - Anthony Amobi, District Sports Page

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Phillies: "'We have to wake up and play better,' [Charlie] Manuel said. 'We don't like what we've been doing. If we want to win and be able to go where we want to go, we better start playing better.'" - "New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies - May 9, 2012" - Todd Zolecki, MLB.com PHI Recap

Marlins: "Before Wednesday’s bounce-back performance, Johnson had been one of the most unreliable starters in baseball – 0-3 with a 6.61 ERA. The Marlins, meanwhile, have remained right behind the Phillies and Nationals when it comes to starting pitching." - "Miami Marlins’ starting pitchers coming off sterling road trip" - Manny Navarro, MiamiHerald.com

Braves: "For the pitching enthusiast, this was a dandy of a series. Unfortunately, it didn't go well for the Braves, losing two of three to the Cubs at Wrigley Field." - "Atlanta Braves at Chicago Cubs Series Recap" - Tony Almeyda, Talking Chop

Mets: "Isn't there a sense that Bay desperately wants to produce better, and that he's trying hard? Isn't there a bit of sympathy for a seeming everyman? It's not his fault Omar Minaya gave him all that money." - "Jason Bay Confounds -- And Always Has" - Eno Sarris, Amazin' Avenue

• Rob Neyer's Mailbag:

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