Wire Taps: Washington Nationals And The Atlanta Braves Battle In Turner Field.

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 10: Starting pitcher Ross Detwiler #48 of the Washington Nationals delivers the ball against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on August 10, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

• Nats' lefty Ross Detwiler's lost two of his last three starts, giving up 24 hits and 14 runs, 13 earned in his last 16.0 innings on the mound. In his last outing against the Baltimore Orioles, the Washington Nationals' lefty allowed nine hits and six runs, all earned in just 5.0 IP. In spite of his recent struggles, Nats' skipper Davey Johnson said the 26-year-old '07 1st Round pick would remain in the rotation, even with right-hander Chien-Ming Wang back from his recently-concluded rehab stint. Tonight, Detwiler takes on the NL East's second-place Atlanta Braves, against whom, he's (1-0) with a 3.26 ERA, 11 walks and 11 K's in six games, three starts and 19.1 IP in his five major league seasons. The Nationals took two of three from the Phillies on the road to start the current nine-game road trip. The Braves, who are a game behind the Nats in the NL East heading into the weekend series which culminates in a nationally-televised game Sunday night on ESPN, are trying to snap a four-game losing streak after getting swept in four-straight by the Cincinnati Reds at the end of a seven-game road trip on which they were 2-5. Tonight's game is the first of 2012 between the NL East rivals. The Nats and Braves split their 18 games last year right down the middle, with Washington taking two of three from Atlanta in the two teams' final series of 2011 in D.C. to help the Braves complete an epic collapse and tie the season series. The NL East's 1st place team is in Atlanta for three in Turner Field... starting tonight at 7:35 pm EDT. Detwiler vs Tim Hudson... but for now it's the links... RIGHT NOW!!!

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• NATS BEAT:

• "It would have been unreasonable for the Nationals to expect [Ross] Detwiler would keep up his ridiculously strong start over the course of an entire season..." - "Nationals Pastime: A big night for Detwiler" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "It’s hard to complain when the team is 26-18 and has spent most of the season in first place. But the Nats haven’t been finishers." - "SNYDER: Two out of three for the Nats ain't bad, but ..." - Deron Snyder, Washington Times

• "Can [Adam] LaRoche keep up his hot start (he's shown signs of fading over the last week)? Can [Ian] Desmond continue to be among the most-productive shortstops in the majors?" - "Flawed, but still winning" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "The Nationals are up one game, so they will have to win the three-game series in order to leave Atlanta in first place by themselves." - "The Nationals and Braves meet for first place" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• '''I try and get an edge any way I can,' Lombardozzi told AP. ''I'm big into vision training. To me, it's a no-brainer. The most important thing about hitting is you have to see the ball to hit.'" - "Lombardozzi does vision training" - Chase Hughes, CSNWashington.com

• "They still have a need for a center fielder/leadoff man, although when everyone is healthy -- which means Morse in left and Werth in right -- they can slot Harper in center field." - "Dave Sheinin fills in for Tracee Hamilton to discuss the Nationals and the rest of baseball, plus opera and whatever else you want to talk about." - Dave Sheinin, The Washington Post

• "You pretty much have to think right-hander Stephen Strasburg is a lock to get in. Strasburg is 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 64 strikeouts." - "Could the Nationals have three or four players in the All-Star Game?" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "It’s been nearly two weeks since [Wilson] Ramos turned to his right to field a passed ball from Jordan Zimmermann, caught his cleat and collapsed in a heap on the field in Cincinnati." - "Rehab as much mental as physical for Wilson Ramos" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Washington enters the series feeling good about itself after taking care of business in Philly. Atlanta, on the other hand, is reeling from a four-game sweep in Cincinnati." - "One big series down, a bigger one next" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Manager Davey Johnson promised a 'less-demanding role' for Rodriguez after moving him out of the closer role after Monday night’s final-straw implosion." - "Henry Rodriguez gets back on the horse, still searching for control" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "Cultivating inner discipline is something that takes time; expecting rapid results is simply a sign of impatience."

• NATS MINORS:

• "[Danny] Rosenbaum is Tommy Milone revisted, though scouts don't see the same stuff as Milone." - "Q&A with Nats Farm Authority" - Brian Oliver with CSNWashington.com's Doug McKinney

Class-A Hagerstown: "Matt Skole's RBI double in the fourth inning proved to be the game-winner and drove in his club-high 44th RBI of the season." - "Hill, Skole Lead Suns in Doubleheader Sweep" - Hagerstown Suns News

Double-A Harrisburg: Curve 5, Senators 4 - Eury Perez - 2 for 4, 1 R; Robert Gilliam - 6.0 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 6 K's - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

Triple-A Syracuse: "Corey Brown came within a double of the cycle, as the center fielder homered for the fourth game in a row to tie a Chiefs club record." - "Brown homers again in Chiefs rout" - Syracuse Chiefs News

Triple-A Syracuse: "[Corey] Brown’s average jumped eight points (.286 to .294) after Thursday night. There is no way around it, he has been on fire for almost all of May." - "Chiefs welcome selves home with a barrage" - Ben Meyers, The Auburn Citizen

• "One week after his last extended spring training game, left-hander Matt Purke took to the mound yesterday in Viera, Fla., for six innings and a club official said he 'pitched well.'" - "Purke with another solid step forward in Florida" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "[Corey] Brown’s success has stemmed from an adjustment he made this spring with Syracuse hitting coach Troy Gingrich..." - "Corey Brown emerges at Syracuse, and another Nationals minor league name to know" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

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

• "Washington Nationals Minor League Scoreboard for May 24" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• NATSTOWN:

• "His 1887 season was enough to draw the interest of the Washington Senators, the perennial Tail Enders of the National League." - The Dummy Hoy Story" - Karen and Kevin Flynn, D.C. Baseball History

• "The Nationals' 26-18 record is easily their best at this point, and they enter the weekend series in Atlanta in first place, a game up on the Braves." - "The start of summer - and a division race?" - Nationals Buzz: Marty Niland, MASNSports.com

• "Atlanta has flirted with first place in recent weeks, but has yet to overtake the Nationals for control of it." - "Nationals and Braves Battle for NL East Lead" - Erin Flynn, The Nats Blog

• "A Bryce Harper fan turns Justin Bieber song into a song about Bryce Harper" - Nats Enquirer

• "Remember when I said [Ross] Detwiler's personal stats might be showing some real signs of improvement? Yeah, forget that." - "The fate of Detwiler is in his hands" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "Bryce Harper has now passed 100 plate appearances, so we are starting to get a large enough sample to look at his approach at the plate." - "Bryce Harper’s first 100 plate appearances" - Nat Anacostia, Nats Noodles

• "At 26-18 (.591 winning percentage), they sit (barely) atop the National League East. They’ve scored 163 runs (3.70 runs/game) and allowed 144 runs (3.27 runs/game)." - "First Quarter Report Card" - Ouij, Natstradamus

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Braves: "There are not many good things to say about this series, as the Reds utilized the long ball to sweep the Braves. With that said, here are some notes from the series." - "Atlanta Braves at Cincinnati Reds Series Recap" - SCrebel10, Talking Chop

Mets: "Ike Davis isn’t going anywhere. The Mets ended speculation that their slumping first baseman might be headed for the minor leagues to get his swing on track, as Terry Collins told him he will remain on the big league roster." - "NY Mets' Ike Davis still slumping but will not be demoted to minor leagues" - Stefan Bondy and Roger Rubin, NY Daily News

Phillies: "The Phillies went back to St. Louis for the first time since last October, when they lost the National League Division Series in five games." - "Phillies Win First Game of 2011 NLDS Rematch" - Bill Baer, Crashburn Alley

Marlins: "You’d have been hard-pressed this offseason to find an unbiased observer who didn’t think that the three-year, $27 million contract that the Marlins handed to closer Heath Bell was foolish." - "Can Heath Bell Be Trusted?" - Mike Petriello, FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball

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