Wire Taps: Washington Nationals' Sweepless In 2012; Stephen Strasburg Would Rather Keep That In The Clubhouse.

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 15: Chase Headley #7 of the San Diego Padres is forced out at second base by Ian Desmond #20 of the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on May 15, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

The Washington Nationals just can't sweep a series. They've had six seven opportunities to sweep a series so far this year, (rain washed out one attempt to take three-straight from Miami, so they could complete that one at some point when it's finally played), but they've been unable to finish their opponents off. Tuesday afternoon's loss denied the Nats a chance to even take a cheap two-game sweep from the visiting San Diego Padres. Now the Nationals take on Pittsburgh in another two-game set, after the Pirates took two of three from the Nats in PNC last week. The Bucs are one of two teams to take a series from the Nats this season. Unfortunately, the big story coming out of yesterday's loss, as you'll read below, had to do with Stephen Strasburg's discomfort on the mound in what D.C. GM Mike Rizzo described this morning on 106.7 the FAN as "Ointmentgate." If you're not aware of what happened, you'll unfortunately be unable to get through today's link post without learning the uncomfortable details... Gio Gonzalez takes on the Pirates tonight at 7:05 pm EDT. Until then, you'll have to settle for reading links. Links and lots of 'em about Strasburg and Hot Stuff... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!:

• "The sense in the Nationals’ clubhouse was no one would have pulled a prank on Strasburg on the day he pitched – nobody would be that dumb." - "Stephen Strasburg had issue with Hot Stuff ointment in rocky outing, Davey Johnson says" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "It sounds like during Strasburg's start, the heat rub relocated to another area of Strasburg's body, possibly with the help of the rain, which caused him some discomfort." - "Nationals Pastime: An uncomfortable outing for Strasburg, in multiple ways" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'It has nothing to do with communication,' Bernadina said.'That ball, I should have caught it.'" - "Strasburg, Nats not so hot in loss" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Stepping back into the batter's box after the brief shower to face [Stephen] Strasburg in the top of the first, San Diego's John Baker guessed what was coming. Fastball." - "Strasburg has Hot Stuff, not best stuff, in loss" - Howard Fendrich, WTOP.com

• "Stephen Strasburg had a rough day on the mound Tuesday, but we may have found the cause behind his shaky start." - "Strasburg's ointment takes unexpected detour" - MLB.com: News

• "Yeesh. It sounds like even the great Stephen Strasburg isn't impervious to feeling the burn a little more than is usually preferable." - "Stephen Strasburg and ‘Hot Stuff’ ointment are apparently not a very good mix" - Kevin Kaduk, Big League Stew - Yahoo! Sports

• "No one likes to criticize the Nats and [Stephen] Strasburg more than Rob Dibble." - "Rob Dibble still telling Stephen Strasburg to suck it up" - Sarah Kogod, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• "'Keep him healthy,' [Davey] Johnson said. '... We're fortunate that we have a lot of depth at catching, but this is getting ridiculous.'" - Davey Johnson on Carlos Maldonado - "Catching depth tested as Maldonado arrives" - Marc Lancaster, Washington Times

• "Sandy Leon stood there, with his right foot wrapped in a large, black boot and resting on a rolling contraption." - "Chase Headley, Sandy Leon meet the day after their collision" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "[Ryan] Zimmerman is still reaching base at a decent .346 clip and has at least one walk in five of his last six games, but the power production just hasn't been there this season." - "Nationals Pastime: Some of this, some of that" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Whatever happened, it was part of his worst inning of the season. Place the blame for the bloop double by leadoff batter Will Venable on [Roger] Bernadina, the closest player to the baseball." - "Bad start for Strasburg leads to Nationals loss" - Brian McNally, Washington Examiner

• "Left fielder Michael Morse was able to hit in the indoor batting cage without any problems on Tuesday. He said he will hit and throw every other day." - "Morse, DeRosa progressing toward return" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Before he sustained that shoulder injury off a foul tip in Arizona three years ago, [Jesus] Flores looked poised for a breakthrough at the plate." - "Focus on Flores" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Fidgety from the start, [Stephen] Strasburg spent much of the first inning simply trying to get a grip on the ball." - "Little goes right for Strasburg in Nats' 6-1 loss" - Marc Lancaster, Washington Times

• "One 300-game winner covered (almost) his whole body with the fiery ointment. However, when it rains very hard, goo can dilute and run. And you never know where it will travel." - "Washington Nationals injuries are becoming a comedy of casualties" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "[Gio] Gonzalez has allowed just five total runs in his last six starts since conceding four in his first start with his new team." - "Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals - May 16, 2012" - Paul Casella, MLB.com Preview

• "It looked like an innocent pop up between left field and right field midway towards the warning track from the first hitter of the game, Padres right fielder Will Venable." - "Fly ball misplay was swing Padres needed against Strasburg" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "'[The double by Will Venable] was a break, and we took advantage of it,' Padres manager Bud Black said. 'The hit by [John] Baker was huge because it drove Strasburg's pitch count up.'" - "San Diego Padres at Washington Nationals" - Bill Ladson, May 15, 2012 | MLB.com WSH Recap

• "Less than 24 hours after clubbing his first career home run, Harper did it again, sending a 1-0 pitch from [Anthony] Bass into the center field bleachers." - "Instant analysis: Padres 6, Nats 1" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Surely this isn't how Stephen Strasburg envisioned his first start against his hometown team." - "Strasburg's day done after four tough innings" - Marc Lancaster, Washington Times

• "On the whole, [Ryan] Zimmerman has one home run and five doubles in 104 plate appearances – he’s slugging just .322, or 159 points below his career average." - "Ryan Zimmerman’s power coming slowly this season" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "[Davey] Johnson said the genesis of this particular starting nine was given boost into motion when he had a conversation with outfielder Roger Bernadina, who was off to a slow start due in part to a lack of consistent at-bats." - "Johnson's familiar lineup card starting to pay dividends for Nationals" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "This is [Carlos] Maldonado's second Major League stint with the Nationals -- the first coming in 2010. He joins the team a day after Leon was injured in a home-plate collision against the Padres." - "Maldonado joins Nats as Leon hits DL" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "The quality of everything we do: our physical actions, our verbal actions, and even our mental actions, depends on our motivation."

• NATS MINORS:

• "The Houston Chronicle quoted Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon saying that he is probably out for the rest of the season because of a badly sprained left ankle, but a team source told MLB.com that was not the case." - "Nats says Rendon could return in September" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "[Matthew] Skole went 4-for-4 with two home runs, five RBIs and four runs scored as the Class A Suns trounced the Crawdads, 12-4." - "Skole successfully returns to Hickory" - Sam Dykstra, MiLB.com News

Class-A Hagerstown: "Suns starter Kylin Turnbull (1-2) earned his first win of the season, dealing five innings while allowing three runs on seven hits, one walk and four strike outs." - "Skole, Suns Bombard Crawdads 12-4" - Hagerstown Suns News

Class-A Potomac: "The Frederick Keys defeated the Potomac Nationals 4-1 in a six-inning contest delayed by lightning and ended by rain at the Pfitz Tuesday night." - "Keys Defeat Nationals 4-1 in Rain Shortened Game" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: Senators 4, Flying Squirrels 2 - Eury Perez - 3 for 4, 2 RBI's; Paul Demny - 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K's - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

Triple-A Syracuse: "Xavier Paul's two-run home run in the first inning and Corey Brown's two-run blast backed starter Yunesky Maya, who tossed six and two-thirds innings of one-run ball to earn his third win." - "Chiefs drop Clippers for seventh straight win" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• Triple-A Syracuse - @CitizenMeyers: "Final for Syracuse. Maya 6.2 IP, 7 H. 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K. as Chiefs make it seven wins in a row. SYR 5, COL 1."

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

• NATSTOWN:

• "Mickey And Satchel" - Jim Vankoski, D.C. Baseball History

• "It’s still early, but George Washington is separating himself from the pack." - "George Washington takes two in the rain. Pierogies next." - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "Add it all up, and [Stephen] Strasburg tied for the second shortest stint of his Major League career, giving up more than three earned runs for just the second time..." - "Washington Nationals Game 36 Review: Strasburg roughed up in 6-1 loss to Padres" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "Tough day for Stephen Strasburg on Tuesday: roughed up a bit by the Padres, foiled by Mother Nature." - "Rob Dibble has some advice for Stephen Strasburg on that 'Hot Stuff on junk' problem" - Nats Enquirer

• "Superman had Kryptonite, and apparently, Stephen Strasburg has…Hot Stuff?" - "We’ve Found Strasburg’s Kryptonite!" - Keara Dowd, Win For Teddy

• "In their first 18 games of this season, the Nats went 14-4 and were cruising. Obviously this was unsustainable..." - "Trouble at the start" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "But with [Chien-Ming] Wang, things aren’t so simple. Now that he’s healthy, they need to decide what to do with him by the end of May..." - "The Next Dilemma – #5 Starter" - The Nationals Review

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "David Wright was ready to take one for the team. Terry Collins was not going to let that happen." - "David Wright, Terry Collins Get In Heated Exchange Over At-Bat, Possible Plunking In Mets' Game Against Brewers" - CBS New York

Braves: "Johnny Cueto entered today's game leading all of MLB with a 1.12 ERA, but he was due for a regression and the Braves obliged..." - "Braves Beat Up Cueto, Hudson Defeats Reds 6-2" - TonyAlmeyda, Talking Chop

Phillies: "Through 37 games thus far in 2012, catcher Carlos Ruiz has been the Phillies’ best and most consistent position player." - "Carlos Ruiz, Unsung Hero" - Bill Baer, Crashburn Alley

Marlins: "Manager Ozzie Guillen will do what he can to keep that positive energy flowing. Prior to Tuesday's game he said, '[Josh Johnson]., I don't worry about him ... He's good enough for me.'" - "Commentary: Josh Johnson finally earns elusive victory for Marlins" - David George, Palm Beach Post

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