Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Records Set, And Michael Morse Sets Records Straight...

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 16: Ian Desmond #20 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after hitting a solo home run in the third inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park on May 16, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Gio Gonzalez's 10 K's last night gave the Washington Nationals' left-hander the NL lead in K's. He also gave up the first HR he's allowed this year. Adam LaRoche (3 for 4, 2B/HR) collected hit no. 1,000 of his career. Xavier Nady hit HR no.100 of his career. And the Nats' win set themselves up with yet another opportunity, their eighth this year, to sweep a series, even though it's only a two-game set with the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates. Michael Morse, who's working his way back, made news yesterday by interrupting Nady's post game interview, then he took to the airwaves this morning to dispute the stories that were going around yesterday claiming that Stephen Strasburg had gotten "Hot Stuff" in an uncomfortable place during his last start. I had always assumed Strasburg got it in his eyes... Was I missing the joke? One more with the Bucs tonight and then everyone gets to yell, "OOOO" during the national anthem for three days. Yeah!! Links and lots of them... RIGHT NOW!!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "The 25,942 stood and showered him with an ovation. LaRoche offered a small grin — that’s all he’s got in the grin department — and tipped his cap." - "Nationals vs. Pirates: Adam LaRoche stays hot in helping Gio Gonzalez to the win" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "[Adam] LaRoche, who is hitting .339 with the eighth-best on-base plus slugging percentage in the major leagues (1.024), insists he didn’t think anything of the speculation involving the Nationals and Fielder this offseason." - "Adam LaRoche continues to buoy Nationals' offense in milestone night" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Considering the year [Adam] LaRoche had last season, with the .172 batting average, the boos he received at Nationals Park and the season-ending shoulder injury, today clearly meant a lot." - "Nationals Pastime: For LaRoche, a milestone moment and another huge hit" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Even after making a full recovery, [Adam] LaRoche still spent much of the winter listening to chatter about the Nationals making a play for free agent Prince Fielder..." - "LaRoche gets his well-earned praise" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Hitting cleanup while Michael Morse is on the disabled list, [Adam] LaRoche leads the Nationals with seven homers and 29 RBIs." - "LaRoche, Gonzalez lead Nationals past Pirates 7-4" - Howard Fendrich, AP/WTOP.com

• "[Gio] Gonzalez ended up pitching seven innings, allowing three runs and striking out 10 batters, which put him in the National League lead with 60, ahead of teammate Stephen Strasburg's 56 K's." - "Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals - May 16, 2012" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "[Sandy] Leon said the Nationals told him in two weeks he will be cleared to return to activity." - "Morse plays catch, Leon gets a timetable" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "It's not known when Storen will start throwing off the mound, but he is still projected to play his first Major League game after the All-Star break." - "Storen throws without feeling any pain" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "The series between the Nationals and Orioles has never been more interesting than this weekend. Typically, it's a battle of cellar-dwelling teams with interchangeable spare parts." - "Battle of the Beltways now has relevance" - Thom Loverro, Washington Examiner

• "After Tyler Clippard allowed one run in the eighth, [Davey] Johnson handed the ball to closer Henry Rodriguez, who had surrendered an anxiety-riddled two walk-off home runs last week..." - "Combo of stopper Gonzalez, closer Rodriguez helps Nats to 7-4 victory over Bucs" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "'The only one who can hurt Henry is himself,' starter Gio Gonzalez aptly put it." - "Henry Rodriguez bounces back after Davey Johnson backs up his words" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "So far, [Bryce] Harper has stood in for about 51 percent fastballs. I'll remind you here that the average is around 63 percent." - "The Instant Fear Of Bryce Harper" - Jeff Sullivan, Baseball Nation

• "'It’s kind of tedious,' he said. 'It’s a tedious process, because you want to go out there and throw just like you did before and you can’t really do it.'" - "Drew Storen makes 100 throws on second day of throwing since surgery" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "You don’t have to be a sabermetrics whiz to know the numbers are piling up against Washington Nationals closer Henry Rodriguez..." - "Henry Rodriguez, despite struggles, will get time to save his role" - Jason Reid, The Washington Post

• "Yep, take a look at the current NL pitching leaderboard. Topping the list: Gio Gonzalez with 60 strikeouts. Right behind him: Stephen Strasburg with 59." - "Nats' 1 + 2 = lots of strike 3s" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "The Nationals' Jordan Zimmermann is 2-3, but his ERA is even better than [James] McDonald's, at 2.14, and he too is coming off a strong effort in his last outing..." - "Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals - May 17, 2012" - James Walker, MLB.com Preview

• "Washington's win over the Pirates last night coupled with the Braves' loss to Miami puts the Nats a half-game ahead of Atlanta in the division." - "Nationals Pastime: Standings, saves and strikeouts" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Gio Gonzalez was lights-out for seven innings, striking out 10 to take over the MLB lead in that department." - "Instant analysis: Nats 7, Pirates 4" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "[Drew] Storen played light catch today, his second throwing session since undergoing surgery in April to remove bone chips." - "Drew Storen tosses, still aiming for return around the all-star break" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "The thing about Gio [Gonzalez] is, he'll never take credit for the success he's achieved on the mound." - "Heist: Gio, Come on, man" - Craig Heist, WTOP.com

• "[Chien-Ming] Wang said he is willing to work out of the bullpen as long as the team gives him advance warning so he could prepare." - "Wang says he's open to working out of 'pen" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "[Wilson] Ramos said he is out for the rest of the season and hopes to have surgery in two to three weeks, once the swelling in his knee goes down." - "Ramos vows to return healthy next season" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "The injury, as one would expect, crushed Ramos, 24, emotionally. The day he tore the ligament, reporters approached him and he said, 'Please, not now.'" - "Wilson Ramos to have surgery on torn ACL in two or three weeks, out for the season" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'I’m ready,' [Chien-Ming] Wang said through translator John Hsu. 'But I need to follow directions from the team.'" - "Return of Chien-Ming Wang to shake up Nationals' staff" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Drew] Storen soft-tossed 100 throws Wednesday, the same number he threw Monday. He did two sets of 50 throws, 25 at 45 feet and 25 from 60 feet. Storen will have another day off tomorrow." - "Storen right on schedule in recovery from elbow surgery" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "On the bright side, [Wilson] Ramos was told he suffered no damage other than the torn ACL, and the surgery to repair it is considered routine procedure." - "Storen throwing, Ramos waiting" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Interleague Play starts Friday night, with the Nationals facing the Orioles in the Battle of the Beltways at Nationals Park." - "Improved Nats ready to face Interleague foes" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "When Davey Johnson said that 'some Hot Stuff got misplaced' he never specifically said where it ended up." - "Michael Morse says Stephen Strasburg Hot Stuff incident didn’t happen" - Sarah Kogod, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "You must not consider tolerance and patience to be signs of weakness. I consider them signs of strength."

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Hagerstown: "Suns starting pitcher Nathan Karns (1-0) earned his first win, pitching six innings and allowing two runs while striking out five batters and not allowing a walk." - "Karns Leads Suns in Sweep of Hickory" - Hagerstown Suns News

Class-A Potomac: "Frederick was able to get to LHP Robbie Ray in the fourth inning. Ray, who faced the minimum tossing just 20 pitches in the first three innings yielding five hits and four runs to the Keys all earned." - "P-Nats Sweep DH with Keys on Walk-Off" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: Senators 3, Flying Squirrels 1 - Eury Perez - 4 for 5, 2 2B; Jeff Mandel - 7.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K's - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

Triple-A Syracuse: "The inning was [John] Lannan's last one of the game, with the left-hander allowing 11 hits and four walks in six innings." - "6-2 loss snaps Chiefs' win streak" - Syracuse Chiefs News

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

• NATSTOWN:

• "First off, according to PITCHf/x data, batters are making more contact on [Tyler] Clippard this season than at any time in his major league career." - "Is there reason to be concerned about Tyler Clippard's performance?" - Nationals Buzz: Dave Nichols, MASNSports.com

• "A look at four minor leaguers who can help the Nationals stay at the top of the NL East while the team battles injuries." - "Who Can Help the Nats Tread Water?" - Parks Smith, Fanspeak Washington Nats Blog

• "Hey, first place again. Life is good." - "Good Henry showed up!" - Nats Enquirer

• "Baseball in the District, if you ask many fans it would begin and end with Walter Johnson, prior of course to the arrival of Harper and Strasburg." - "What’s in a name?" - Karen and Kevin Flynn, D.C. Baseball History

• "Despite allowing the most earned runs in an outing since his ugly April 7 debut, Gio Gonzalez looked strong Wednesday night through the majority of his start." - "Nationals Power Their Way To A 7-4 Win Over The Pirates" - Will Yoder, The Nats Blog

• "[Adam] LaRoche’s double in the bottom half of the seventh came against right-handed reliever Evan Meek, who hit Jesus Flores and walked Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman to load the bases." - "Washington Nationals Game 37 Review: Gio, LaRoche power Nats past Pirates 7-4" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "It’s been nearly three years since retired racing pierogie Potato Pete leveled Teddy Roosevelt at PNC Park." - "Video: Pittsburgh’s Potato Pete returns. Teddy Roosevelt vows revenge. This could be fun." - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "The Nats went on to beat the Pirates 7-4. (Somewhere Jordan Zimmermann is asking them to save some runs for him.)" - "The Casualties" - Kristen, Win For Teddy

• "BeltwayLand was sad yesterday after the godfather of go-go Chuck Brown died (The Post)." - "Nats honor Chuck Brown with 3 homers in 7-4 win over Pirates" - William F. Yurasko, William World News

• "Last night, in his 36th game of the year, Ian Desmond hit his 5th homerun of the season. Last year, in 154 games, he had 8 homers." - "Desmond's power" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Marlins: "Ozzie Guillen has a rather unique Interleague plan for Bud Selig and other major league higher-ups, if they’re willing to pay attention." - "Manager Ozzie Guillen proposes interleague twist; reacts to Hickey death" - Juan C. Rodriguez, Sun-Sentinel

Mets: "We've been taking considerable joy in pointing out that the Mets have been in the 'if the season ended today' playoffs every single day of this season." - "The Mets Are Almost Out of the Pretend Playoffs" - Will Leitch, New York Magazine

Braves: "Watching last night's game, fans of the Atlanta Braves were hopeful that Mike Minor was past the issues that had plagued him the last three starts ... and then the fourth inning happened." - "Braves Starting Pitcher Mike Minor Has A "Stretch" Problem" - gondeee, Talking Chop

Phillies: "Roy Halladay, like the rest of the club, is trying to get over a hurdle. The right-hander has not won since April 16, having taken a loss in three of his last five starts." - "Philadelphia Phillies at Chicago Cubs - May 17, 2012" - Jon Star, MLB.com Preview

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