Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Done With Yankees, But Not AL East.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 17: Michael Morse #38 of the Washington Nationals pours water over his head during the game against the New York Yankees at Nationals Park on June 17, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

The Washington Nationals have an off day today before they welcome the Tampa Bay Rays to the nation's capital for three games starting Tuesday night. After that the Nats head out on the road for a 10-game swing through Baltimore, Colorado and Atlanta. After 12 Interleague games this year, Washington's 7-5, having lost two of three to the Orioles, swept both the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays and lost three-straight to the New York Yankees. In spite of being swept by the AL East's first-place team this past weekend, the Nats still have a 4.0 game lead over the NL East's second-place Atlanta Braves, who start a series with the Yankees tonight in Yankee Stadium. Davey Johnson expressed some concern about Ryan Zimmerman after Sunday's loss. Drew Storen continues to work his way back from elbow surgery. Bryce Harper faced the NY Yankees for the first time. Brad Lidge was designated for assignment. NY right-hander Ivan Nova has a hard time with percentages. It was a big weekend in Washington, even if the Nationals didn't have much success. Use the off day to catch up. Plenty of links to follow, and you can start reading RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!! (Today In Two Parts):

• "'Everybody here was Yankee fans,' Nova said after extending his undefeated road streak to 15 starts dating back to last June 20. 'To be able to pitch a good game, have that ovation from those fans, I feel really good.'" - "Yankees fans in attendance at Nationals Park see Ivan Nova help Bombers complete sweep, give him raucous ovation" - Mark Feinsand, NY Daily News

• "The worst piece of sportswriting in a while makes Bryce Harper out to be a right-wing hero, which is just ridiculous, writes Charles P. Pierce." - "Bryce Harper Conservative Hero Column - Our Athletes Are Not Meant to Fit Our Ideologies" - Charles P. Pierce, Esquire

• NATS BEAT:

• "Originally after surgery in early April, [Drew] Storen’s timetable had him ambitiously returning around the all-star break in early July." - "Closer Drew Storen throwing off the mound three times a week, tells Tyler Clippard to work on his celebrations" - James Wagner, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "When the Washington Nationals signed Brad Lidge in late January, general manager Mike Rizzo said he brought 'vast knowledge' and would be a 'wealth of information' for the young relievers the Nationals had in their bullpen." - "As Drew Storen continues to make progress, the Nationals' bullpen remains in a state of flux" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'Every time you move into a new step, it is an acclimation period,' [Drew] Storen said. 'You kind of get used to it, and you have to listen to your body.'" - "Storen confirms he's on track for All-Star break return" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Ryan Mattheus' return from the disabled list yesterday helped bring some order back to the bullpen (though it cost veteran Brad Lidge his job)." - "Nats getting bullpen back in order" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "'We've got some work to do,' said first baseman Adam LaRoche, who provided the Nats with their only run on a second-inning homer. 'Tough series, but we got outplayed.'" - "Nationals swept by Yankees" - Brian McNally, Washington Examiner

• "Baseball is a humbling game, Bryce Harper said on Sunday when he addressed the media after his toughest weekend as a Major Leaguer had finally ended." - "Harper, Nationals humbled by Yankees" - Barry M. Bloom, nationals.com: News

• "So it was business as usual for Joe Girardi’s bunch when they arrived here Friday for a three-game set against the first-place Washington Nationals." - "DALY: Weekend against Yankees gave Nats a feel for playing under microscope" - Dan Daly, Washington Times

• "In his second at-bat of the game, in a 0-for-10 slump, [Bryce] Harper smacked the first pitch from right-handed starter Ivan Nova, a 79-mph curveball, into the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center field." - "Bryce Harper bounces back well, grows after worst game in majors" - James Wagner, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "This marks the third time the Nats have been swept this season, and the first of those sweeps which has come at home." - "Nationals Pastime: Swept away by the pinstripes" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "In dropping three straight games to the Yankees -- including Sunday's 4-1 series finale -- the Nationals scored a total of six runs." - "Sweep exposes Nats' lineup woes" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "If this truly was a battle of the Beast's of the East, someone forgot to tell the Washington Nationals." - "Yankees give Nats a lesson but all is not lost" - Craig Heist, WTOP.com

• "'I’m not doing as well as I want to,' [Ryan] Zimmerman said, acknowledging that one sign is how often he’s hitting the ball to the left side of the field, instead of to all fields. In his career..." - "Zimmerman's struggles continue as Nats swept by Yanks" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Gio] Gonzalez doesn't have to think twice on who gets the credit for his success this season: his father, Max, who taught his son the fundamentals of pitching." - "Gio owes success to father's training, support" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "[Ryan] Zimmerman's not the type to blame his poor play on an injury, even if it was plaguing him. His response when questioned about the shoulder was: 'I feel good.'" - "Nationals Pastime: Johnson concerned about Zimmerman, middle of the order" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "In a series unlike few others in their brief history in Washington, the Nationals learned quite a bit about this year's team." - "New York Yankees at Washington Nationals - June 17, 2012" - Mike Flammetta, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "Needing to salvage a Sunday victory to avoid a sweep, the Nationals instead fell into a familiar pattern." - "Nats Insider: Instant analysis: Yankees 4, Nats 1" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "The Nationals rolled back into town after sweeping six in a row on the road. With the Yankees arriving just as hot, there was anticipation the Nats had a chance to make a statement." - "LaRoche after sweep by Yankees: 'We got some work to do'" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "What was eating Nationals Manager Davey Johnson after his team’s 4-1, series-closing loss was the state of his cornerstone third baseman, Ryan Zimmerman, and his continued struggles at the plate." - "Nationals vs. Yankees: New York completes sweep as Ryan Zimmerman’s slump deepens" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "Coming off six straight road wins over American League East teams, the Nats returned home with a chance to make a statement against another red-hot division leader..." - "Nationals Pastime: What can we take out of the weekend?" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "If you conduct your life on the basis of truth and honesty, it gives you a sense of satisfaction and self-confidence."

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Hagerstown: "Suns starting pitcher Alex Meyer struck out a career high nine batters in a no-decision, pitching five innings and allowing three runs on five hits." - "First-Rounders Shine in First Half Finale" - Hagerstown Suns News

Class-A Potomac: Myrtle Beach 5, Potomac 0 - Adrian Sanchez - 2 for 4; Adam Olbrychowski - 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K's, 1 HR - Potomac Nationals Scoreboard

Double-A Harrisburg: Trenton 4, Harrisburg 0 - Chris Marrero - 1 for 4; Ryan Tatusko - 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K's - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

Double-A Harrisburg: "Among the moves: Chris McConnell cut, Stephen King demoted, Justin Bloxom and Zach Walters up from Class A, and Ryan Perry down from AAA." - "Harrisburg Senators endure hefty roster shakeup" - Geoff Morrow, PennLive.com

• Triple-A Syracuse: "The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, lost 6-2 to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees on Sunday afternoon at Alliance Bank Stadium." - "Chiefs foiled by Yankees in series finale" - Syracuse Chiefs News

Triple-A Syracuse: "A lead-off sun-aided triple by Corey Brown was the only hit [Ramon] Ortiz allowed into the seventh. He set down 18-straight at one point." - "Early runs lift Yankees over Chiefs" - Ben Meyers, The Auburn Citizen

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

• NATSTOWN:

• "Before the season I felt [Michael] Morse was in pretty good shape to be an all-star and an outside MVP candidate. But then he got hurt and a few weeks on the DL turned into a couple months." - "Bigger Return: Brian Roberts or Michael Morse?" - John Manuel, Fanspeak

• "So we were out at Doubleday Field, in Cooperstown, NY, watching the 4th Annual Baseball Classic that the Hall of Fame puts on every Father’s Day weekend..." - "Hannan Isn’t Helping Retirees As Much As He Could Be" - Douglas J. Gladstone, D.C. Baseball History

• "There’s a lot been written over the weekend about the differences between the upstart Washington Nationals and the 'big, bad Yankees,' as Davey Johnson called them before the first-place series showdown that ended in a sweep for the Bronx Bombers." - "Washington Nationals By the Numbers: Difference between the Nats and Yankees" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "Unless the Nats get swept out by both the Rays and the Orioles, this set of games can't be viewed as a disappointment." - "Monday Quickie" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "It was certainly a worthy attempt to add to the bullpen. Brad Lidge, a former closer who had pitched well in limited time last year, seemed like he could be a good addition." - "The DFA Express… Just Getting Going?" - The Nationals Review

• "BSG said he couldn’t bug out his eyes well enough to do [Stephen] Strasburg, so he solicited some help from a young girl." - "Batting stance guy makes Nats trading cards" - Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• "The six wins leading into the Yankees series only served to raise expectations." - "Not ready for prime time" - Ted Leavengood, Nationals Buzz, MASNSports.com

• "Drafted in the 22nd round of the 2009 MLB draft, left-hander Daniel Rosenbaum was never expected to be a major league pitcher, but since then a lot has changed." - "Looking to the Future: Daniel Rosenbaum" - Patrick Hilley, The Nats Blog

• "Some people seemed really upset that I wouldn’t pick between my city and family in the Washington Nationals vs. New York Yankees series this past weekend." - "I won’t miss being neutral about the Nats and Yankees" - William F. Yurasko, William World News

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "Davey Johnson, who led New York to its second World Series title in 1986, was named the 50th anniversary all-time manager over Miracle Mets skipper Gil Hodges." - "David Wright, Mike Piazza Headline SNY's NY Mets All-Time Team; Some Debate Over Davey Johnson" - WFAN, CBS New York

Braves: "After eight years in the Braves organization, including the past four in Triple-A Gwinnett, Todd Redmond finally got his big league chance." - "Redmond gets first major league call-up" - David O'Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Marlins: "While the Marlins have been disappointing offensively, hitting coach Eduardo Perez does not appear to be in any danger of losing his job." - "Miami Marlins’ Ozzie Guillen: Don’t blame Eduardo Perez" - Clark Spencer, MiamiHerald.com

Phillies: "It's entirely possible that Jim Thome made his final Phillies start on Sunday. He made it a memorable one." - "Thome's blast is a milestone" - Matt Gelb, Philly.com

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