Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Return Home Following Tough Loss In Great American Ballpark.

Apr 24, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Henry Rodriguez (63) pitches during the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

• HENRY!!!: While many in NatsTown expressed a desire to move on from the Henry Rodriguez-as-closer era after last night's 28-pitch, two-hit, two-walk, walk-off loss to the Cincinnati Reds, which ended with Joey Votto's walk-off grand slam, Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson told reporters last night he's staying with the hard-throwing 25-year-old right-hander. "He's still throwing the ball good," the manager said, "It was inclement weather, tough day, but we'll bounce back, it's just a bump in the road." A night after an electric 10-pitch, three K save in a 2-1 Nats' win, Rodriguez was back to being the wild Henry Rodriguez that couldn't throw strikes. The result? The Washington Nationals failed to sweep a series for the sixth time this season, and fell out of first as the Atlanta Braves took over atop the NL East. Now the Nats are back in D.C. with a seven-game homestand against the Padres, Pirates and O's. Ross Detwiler throws tonight, Stephen Strasburg tomorrow. Time to get over Sunday's tough loss... right after you read 40+ LINKS about the weekend... Start reading... RIGHT NOW!!!!

• THE BIG STORY!!!!:

• "The Nationals returned home late last night the same club that left town a week ago, aside from the loss of Ramos. But that doesn't mean they haven't reached a critical juncture in their season." - "After punches to gut, it's gut-check time" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• NATS BEAT:

• "[Sandy] Leon, who will wear No. 41, batted .319 with 10 doubles, one home run and 12 RBIs in 27 games this season with the Senators." - "Nationals Pastime: Ramos has torn ACL, Nats call up Leon" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Danny] Espinosa had gone 104 at-bats between homers. Now, he has hits in four straight games, and he’s showing signs of giving the Nationals a power threat they have sorely lacked." - "Leftovers from last night: Jordan Zimmermann finishes, Henry Rodriguez dominates, Danny Espinosa homers" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'It’s very frustrating,' Rodriguez said, his eyes staring squarely at the ground as he sat in front of his locker inside the visitors’ clubhouse with catcher Jesus Flores translating for him." - "Rodriguez implodes as Votto slams Nationals in ninth" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Washington headed home after a week that included two more players going on the disabled list with significant injuries and a 19-year-old rookie figuring in games in unusual ways." - "Votto's slam, 3 HRs rally Reds past Nationals 9-6" - Joe Kay, WTOP.com

• "[Ross] Detwiler (3-2, 2.10 ERA) will start for the Nationals in a battle of two teams ranked among the bottom four in the National League in runs scored." - "San Diego Padres at Washington Nationals - May 14, 2012" - Andrew Simon, MLB.com Preview

• "[Danny] Espinosa was thrown out at home two batters later when he tried to score on a Jesus Flores single to left, but still, the Nats have to be thrilled they're starting to see their second baseman put things together at the plate." - "Nationals Pastime: Two-out knocks put Nats on top (walk-off grand slam sinks Nats)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Widely considered the best defensive catcher in Washington's farm system, [Sandy] Leon is hitting .319 in 27 games but had not spent any time above Class A prior this season." - "Ramos needs surgery for torn ACL" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "[Edwin] Jackson had the stuff for a really, really good start. He retired 10 of the first 12 batters he faced – but the two non-outs were solo homers by [Joey] Votto." - "For Edwin Jackson, an early but understandable exit" Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Sandy Leon had just left Canal Park in Akron on Saturday night when his phone rang. The catcher for Double-A Harrisburg was asked to return to the stadium, so he that's what he did." - "Leon called up after Ramos placed on DL" -Kevin Goheen, nationals.com: News

• "Assistant general manager Bob Boone and assistant to the general manager Pat Corrales - both former major league catchers - have worked very hard to develop [Sandy] Leon and they have been impressed with his progress through the system." - "Call-up Leon has made huge strides last two seasons" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "'That's a tough loss,' said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. 'Rodriguez has done such a great job. You just can't walk guys like that. You don't want Votto up there ever.'" - "Washington Nationals at Cincinnati Reds - May 13, 2012" - Kevin Goheen, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "[Sandy] Leon is the Nationals' top catching prospect and was named the best defensive catcher in the Carolina League after the 2011 season by Baseball America." - "Sandy Leon gets call-up, major league opportunity after Wilson Ramos injury" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "There was Wilson Ramos, limping out of the Nationals’ clubhouse on crutches. There was Henry Rodriguez, sitting on a stool and explaining the calamitous ending to their Nationals’ loss on Sunday." - "The Nationals head home out of first place, in a good position and facing more adversity" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "If you're on the mound in that situation, you cannot let [Joey] Votto - the National League MVP two seasons ago - step into the batter's box. You just can't." - "Nationals Pastime: Oh, Henry" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The definition of an ace is a pitcher who can stop a losing streak. Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg did that for the second time this year with a 13-strikeout performance against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday." - "The Baseball Page: May 13, 2012" - Brian McNally, Washington Examiner

• "[Craig] Stammen said he had more friends and family make the trip south this weekend than he could count." - "Ohio native Stammen gets chance to see mom" - Kevin Goheen, nationals.com: News

• "Walking to the plate with two outs in the ninth inning, already with two home runs and now carrying a chance to end the Washington Nationals’ long, wet and miserable day in the most gut-wrenching fashion, was Joey Votto." - "Nationals vs. Reds: Joey Votto homers three times as Washington falls, 9-6" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "'We’re brothers in here,' said shortstop Ian Desmond as team trainers squired Ramos to the hospital for an MRI late Saturday night. 'We just lost another brother.'" - "Ramos' torn ACL is latest debilitating injury to Nationals" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Wilson Ramos tore his ACL and is done for a long time, joining Jayson Werth, Michael Morse and Drew Storen in that particular club." - "Morning pixels: That was a bad weekend" - Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• "'I've been feeling great at the plate, even the past couple of games, [even] if I had been struggling or not. But I've felt great at the plate,' said [Bryce] Harper." - "Nationals break out pink for Mother's Day" - Kevin Goheen, nationals.com: News

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "Unlike the body, when it comes to training the mind, there is no limit to how far we can go." -

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Hagerstown: "The Suns will now travel to Hickory and begin a three-game series with the Crawdads on Monday evening at 6:05 p.m. RHP Wirkin Estevez (4-1) is schedule to start for Hagerstown." - "Suns, Legends Rained Out on Mother's Day" - Hagerstown Suns News

• "A source has told me Goodwin is making positive progress and is likely to return to Hagerstown this week or next. Goodwin has been playing three innings at a time in games at extended spring training in Florida with no setbacks." - "Hagerstown's Goodwin could be good to go by end of the week" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

Class-A Potomac: "In their first ever series, Carolina completed the three-game sweep of the Potomac Nationals with a 3-2 victory Sunday afternoon in Zebulon." - "Nationals Swept by Carolina" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: Senators 8, Aeros 4 - Chris Rahl - 3 for 4, 2 R, 2 RBI; Mike Ballard - 3.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K's - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

• "Danny Rosenbaum leads the Eastern League in ERA and WHIP and is undefeated through seven starts in his first full season at Double-A. But how does he mark his early-season success?" - "Sens' Rosenbaum lowers ERA to 0.71" - Andrew Pentis, MiLB.com News

AUDIO: "Terry Byrom, the legendary play-by-play voice of the Harrisburg Senators, drops by to give us an inside look at the Senators stud pitcher Danny Rosenbaum..." - Interview with Terry Byrom on Senators' Danny Rosenbaum - The Minor League Report

Triple-A Syracuse: "Inside Pitch Podcast" - Syracuse Chiefs Multimedia

Triple-A Syracuse: "In an unsurprising duel between two strong starting pitchers, Rochester (14-22) struck first against Chiefs left-hander Zach Duke." - "Late comeback seals Chiefs' fifth straight win" - Syracuse Chiefs News

Triple-A Syracuse: "[Jim] Negrych’s homer was the first run in a three-run seventh for the Chiefs as they came from behind to win on Mother’s Day. It is the fifth win in a row for Syracuse as they have won six of the last seven." - "Negrych homers as Chiefs make it five in a row" - Ben Meyers, The Auburn Citizen

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

• NATSTOWN:

• "Marathon day at the ballpark in Cincinnati led to two animals with prime front-row seats." - "Horse and giraffe heads at Nats game" - Dan Steinber, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• "The Washington Nationals came very close to returning to D.C. with a winning Ohio River road trip and a sweep of a very good Cincinnati Reds team." - "Nats can’t hold on, lose game, sweep to Joey Votto, Reds" - William F. Yurasko, William World News

• "The 1878 baseball season opens with a 13 to 1 victory by the National Baseball Club over the visiting Baltimore 'Cracks.'" - "Here a fan there a fan everywhere a fan" - Karen and Kevin Flynn, D.C. Baseball History

• "Hasn't been the best of times since Bryce Harper cut off his skullet, eh?" - "When Bryce Harper lost one in the tough sky" - Nats Enquirer

• "It’s easy to blame an erratic closer who walked two batters with two outs, but the Nats had every opportunity to blow this game wide open earlier but couldn’t convert, stranding an incredible 14 runners in the game." - "Washington Nationals Game 34 Review: Votto slams Nats with walk-off homer against Hot Rod" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "For previous Nats teams, the season would be over, but the current Nats, lets call them Nats 2.0: the Natitude Edition, have the tools to succeed in this almost worst case scenario. Why? Lets break it down..." - "Missing Pieces" - Sean, Capitol Baseball

• "Henry Rodriguez blew it didn't he? Nats fans are calling for his head and it's hard to blame them. However, objectively is it terrible that H-Rod is the closer? Well yes and no." - "Monday Quickie - H-Rod edition" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "I’m feeling a little beaten up by that road trip, which is odd, given the Nationals played .500 ball." - "I prefer first place" - Jenn Jenson, Nationals Fangirl

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Marlins: "Last year, the Marlins bullpen did well as a unit in terms of run prevention; they were seventh in baseball in ERA (3.44) and eighth in FIP (3.62), so both their pure run prevention and their peripheral numbers were solid, if unspectacular for a relief crew." - "The Marlins Bullpen In Shutdowns and Meltdowns" - Michael Jong, Fish Stripes

Phillies: "Bill Baer is busy doing Bill Baer stuff, so Michael Baumann helms this week’s podcast with a performance that can only be described with words like 'competent' and 'well-intentioned.'" - "Crashburn Alley Podcast Episode 4" - Ryan Sommers, Crashburn Alley

Mets: "The team is quietly preparing to offer third baseman David Wright a long-term contract extension at some point later this year — perhaps as soon as this summer — according to a baseball official briefed on the Mets’ thinking." - "Mets preparing long-term offer for Wright: report" - NYPOST.com

Braves: "Coming off of a disappointing series in Chicago, Atlanta put that behind them and swept the defending World Series champions at home in St. Louis. Some notable things from the series..." - "Atlanta Braves at St. Louis Cardinals Series Recap" - SCrebel10, Talking Chop

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