Wire Taps: Washington Nationals' Stephen Strasburg's Dominance, Nats' Offense's Issues.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 20: Sean Rodriguez #1 and Elliot Johnson #9 of the Tampa Bay Rays dive for and miss a hit by Ian Desmond (not pictured) #20 of the Washington Nationals in interleague play at Nationals Park on June 20, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

• War of Words: The Washington Nationals and Tampa Bay Rays' managers had reporters running back and forth between press conferences to collect the latest quotes and barbs before Wednesday night's game which saw Stephen Strasburg earn his ninth win while striking out 10 and stopping the Nats' four-game slide. Between the Nats' 23-year-old right-hander's dominant performance and the Nationals' hitter's inability to produce any offense after the first inning against a debuting Chris Archer, the teams made everyone forget about pine-tar-covered glove of Joel "Pine Tar" Peralta and the drama that followed Davey Johnson's decision to have the umpires check the Rays' reliever's glove in game one. But before last night's game, it was all anyone could talk about. In case you missed out on the fun, CSNWashington.com's Chase Hughes captured the best bits in a quick video that shows both Johnson and Tampa Bay skipper Joe Maddon trying their darndest to match wits... (ed. note - "Gio Gonzalez vs Matt Moore tonight in D.C., you know for anyone who cares more about the actual games. But admittedly, this was kind of fun. Here's hoping it's the last of it.")...

• THE BIG STORY!!!: (via CSNWashington.com's Chase Hughes @ChaseHughes on Twitter):


• NATS BEAT:

• "And although [Ted Leonsis] said he considers the Washington Nationals a partner, he added that they have a much pricier, taxpayer-funded stadium." - "Leonsis: Billboards could help Wizards, Caps" - Liz Farmer, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "'The game is going to take care of itself,' Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said. 'We’ve got a game to play.'" - "Nationals vs. Rays: Stephen Strasburg ends Washington’s losing streak in wake of Joel Peralta controversy" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "'You can tell him I have a doctorate of letters, too,' [Davey] Johnson said. 'Mine’s from Loyola, in humanities, and I’m proud of that, too.'" - "Pine tar still a sticky issue one day later" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Joe] Maddon said his point was that if the crew had seen [Joel] Peralta violate a rule, they should have approached the pitcher instead of Johnson inquiring." - "Rays' Maddon advises future players to reconsider signing with Nats" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "'He's a true No. 1,' manager Davey Johnson said. 'And he's still learning. I think the best is yet to come with him.'" - "The stopper does it again" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "[Stephen] Strasburg had one inning left to him on Wednesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays and he intended to finish it." - "Strasburg does it again" - Brian McNally, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "We all know how much Bryce Harper likes clowns. Or maybe he dislikes them? We haven’t really clarified that yet." - "Here is this most literal interpretation of a 'clown question'" - nationals.com: News

• "Former Angels reliever Brendan Donnelly knows exactly what Rasy reliever Joel Peralta is going through." - "Donnelly: Peralta did nothing wrong" - Marc Tompkin, Tampa Bay Times

• "[Ian] Desmond's power has been helping the Nationals, as he ranks second on the team with the 11 homers, behind only Adam LaRoche (12)." - "Desmond providing healthy amount of pop" - Jeff Seidel and Mike Fiammetta, nationals.com: News

• "As the Nationals ace was preparing to step onto the mound and throw his first pitch to the Rays' Desmond Jennings, home plate umpire Jeff Nelson came walking out to the mound." - "Nationals Pastime: Nats lean on their 'true No. 1' yet again" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'I talked to some of the guys,' Peralta said. 'They feel bad about what happened to me. They’re angry on that side, too.'" - "Joe Maddon doesn’t back down, tells players to ‘think twice’ about coming to the Nationals; Peralta says some Nationals are upset" - James Wagner, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "After TarGate 2012, would Nationals manager Davey Johnson consider asking the umpires to check Peralta’s mitt this time around? "'I did not,' he said with a big smile." - "Joel Peralta makes another appearance a night after pine tar incident" - Tom Schad, Washington Times

• "Each team will send a young lefty to the mound in Thursday's rubber match, as Tampa Bay's Matt Moore pitches against Washington's Gio Gonzalez." - "Tampa Bay Rays at Washington Nationals - June 21, 2012" - Greg Zeck, MLB.com Preview

• "The Washington Nationals will celebrate Black Heritage Night on Thursday at Nationals Park..." - "Grays' legacy strong 75 years after arrival" - Thom Loverro, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "[Stephen] Strasburg would probably say he didn't have his very best stuff tonight. Amazing what the guy can still do without it." - "Instant analysis: Nats 3, Rays 2" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "But now, nearly 22 months removed from Tommy John surgery, the predominant feeling for the Washington Nationals when Strasburg takes the mound is comfort." - "Strasburg plays stopper yet again as Nats end 4-game losing streak" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'I took one or two steps back on it, misjudged it,' Lombardozzi said. 'But sprinted in and was able to come up with it.'" - "Nationals' Harper and Lombardozzi showcase bat and glove to topple Rays" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "'We’re still a little overanxious,' Manager Davey Johnson said. 'Trying to get an opposing pitcher come into the strike zone, look for a little better pitch to drive.'" - "Nationals offense: 'We’re still a little overanxious'" - James Wagner, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "There were no pine tar controversies this time around. No ejections, and the managerial name-calling contest finally came to an end." - "Tampa Bay Rays at Washington Nationals - June 20, 2012" - Jeff Seidel, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "The only time this season that Strasburg took the hill after a Nats loss and didn't earn a victory was when Henry Rodriguez blew a save in Los Angeles..." - "Nationals Pastime: Don't call him the stopper, but that's what he is" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "It was less than a month ago that the Nationals made the decision to move [Ross] Detwiler out of the rotation and into the bullpen with [Chien-Ming] Wang returning to the team healthy." - "Nationals make switch in rotation: Detwiler in, Wang out" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'I didn’t know him that well, but I thought he was a weird wuss, anyway,' [Davey] Johnson said. 'I understand where he’s coming from. His job as a manager is to protect the players.'" - "Davey Johnson responds to Joe Maddon, calls Rays manager ‘a weird wuss’" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Short Season Auburn: "The Muckdogs put the game away in the bottom of the seventh when they scored three runs on four hits off of Auburn LHP Bryan Harper." - "Three-run seventh dooms Doubledays in 9-3 loss at Batavia" - Auburn Doubledays News

Double-A Harrisburg: "The Senators started fast and received strong pitching on their way to a 7-3 win over the Portland Sea Dogs on Wednesday night." - "Senators Snap Three-Game Losing Skid with 7-3 Win over Portland" - Terry Byrom, Harrisburg Senators News

Triple-A Syracuse: "After Chiefs starter Mitch Atkins and Red Sox starter Justin Germano swapped zeroes in the first two innings, both teams got on the board in the third inning." - "Chiefs rally for extra-inning win" - Syracuse Chiefs News

Triple-A Syracuse: "The Syracuse Chiefs picked up their third-straight win over the first place Pawtucket Red Sox at Alliance Bank Stadium as Koiye Hill trotted to the plate in the bottom of the eleventh inning with the winning run." - "Three in a row over the division leaders, this time on Hoffpauir walk-off" - Ben Meyers, The Auburn Citizen

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

• NATSTOWN:

• "American League players drawn by Vic Johnson – Yogi Berra" - Jim Vankoski, D.C. Baseball History

• "So a Red Sox fan, a Yankees fan, a Cubs fan, a Dodgers fan and an Expos fan all walk into a bar ... sounds like the start of a really messed up baseball joke, right?" - "The developing Nats fan base" - Nationals Buzz: Rachel Levitin, MASNSports.com

• "[Mike] Rizzo did a respectable job, but I say we start campaigning for next year’s intro. Let Teddy Narrate." - "Mike Rizzo narrates MLB intro" - Sarah Kogod, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• "It’s now clear why. Apparently something happened to Teddy’s glasses between those races." - "What happened to Teddy Roosevelt’s glasses?" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "Unlike the first game of this series, the only drama in this game was actually on the field, though the two managers, Davey Johnson and Joe Maddon, continued their war of words in their pre-game press conferences..." - "Washington Nationals Game 66 Review: Strasburg makes three-run first inning stand up" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "VIDEO: Davey Johnson and Joe Maddon engage in Tweeter war" - Nats Enquirer

• "Seeing the Nats offense curl up and die after the first didn't leave me with a good feeling about the team..." - "Trying not to be negative" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "Despite this team’s record – and 39-27 isn’t just a good record, it’s 4th best in major league baseball and enough for 1st place in the NL East – the offense has looked pretty bad this year." - "Is There an Offense Here?" - The Nationals Review

• "But first, the good stuff. You have to look again to Stephen Strasburg’s magnificent start. He threw seven innings of great baseball for his ninth win of the season." - "Nationals Break Four-Game Losing Streak With Ace Strasburg On The Mound" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "[Davey] Johnson called [Joe] Maddon a "weird wuss" too, so I guess we can look forward to guessing which Sunday morning politics show will use that one first. I hope it’s Bob Schieffer." - "Strasburg, Nats beat Rays despite silent bats and "weird wuss" in the other dugout" - William F. Yurasko, William World News

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Braves: "It was the Braves’ worst fears realized but news they expected: Pitcher Brandon Beachy needs season-ending surgery for his torn elbow ligament." - "Brandon Beachy to have season-ending elbow surgery" - David O'Brien, ajc.com

Mets: "[Johan] Santana followed R.A. Dickey's second one-hitter in a row with his best outing since he tossed a no-hitter on June 1." - "Santana and Mets Shut Out Orioles 5-0 Again" - AP/NYTimes.com

Marlins: "When you look back at the long history of shortstops in baseball, it was rare to see a feat like [Hanley] Ramirez's." - "Meet the New Hanley Ramirez" - Michael Jong, Fish Stripes

Phillies: "For 2 1/2 months, they have been the ugly stepchild who nobody wanted to claim." - "Phillies find reason to celebrate" - Kevin Cooney, www.phillyburbs.com

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