Wire Taps: After Late Night In D.C., Washington Nationals And Atlanta Braves Do It Again Tonight!

Aug 20, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa (8) scores the winning run in the thirteenth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

Danny Espinosa bunted it too hard and right back to the mound. Braves' right-hander Cristhian Martinez threw to second for a force and the first out of the Nats' 13th, cutting Ian Desmond down after he'd singled to start the inning. On a chopper up the middle by Kurt Suzuki in the next at bat, Espinosa took advantage of the fact that all of the Braves' infielders converged on the ball to go from first-to-third™ and put runners on the corners with one down in a 4-4 extra innings game. You know what happened next. A grounder to second by pinch hitter Chad Tracy. Dan Uggla frozen like a deer in headlights. Suzuki standing in place so Uggla couldn't make a play. A bobbled ball. And Danny Espinosa scoring the winning run on a walk-off brain-... We'll leave it there. The Nats won. Davey Johnson, who has 12 seasons and 1,198 games on his resume as a second baseman, and 16 years on the bench, was asked after the game what Uggla should have done? "Well, with the infield in, you just have to go home," the Nats' skipper said, "On a ball like that hit to his left hard, the shortstop can probably get over [to second], but I think that Suzuki, being right there, he thought, 'Well I can't go...' and then it was too late. And then he realized that he couldn't get the double play that way. After he bobbled it once it was too late." The Nationals' manager had Edwin Jackson warming in the pen since it was his throw day, but he didn't want to have to use him. Asked if he's concerned about today's game after all the work his bullpen did, Johnson said, "No. We'll be fine. Most of my guys had short work and I'm going to go nine with [Stephen Strasburg] anyway, so..." [cue laughter]. Game two tonight in Nats Park. 7:05 pm EDT. Strasburg vs Paul Maholm. Til then, LINKS AND LOTS OF THEM... RIGHT NOW!!!!

• THE BIG STORY!!!: (Shameless Self-Promotion Edition, P.S. Thanks, Dan.):

• "Sometime during the dark years, when the Nationals were misspelling jerseys and losing 100 games, Patrick Reddington added a new tagline to the top of his blog. 'Federal Baseball — An Unofficial Washington Nationals Support Group,' it now read." - "Nats bloggers and first place" - Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "Whenever fans see Michael Morse come to the plate to hit, he does a contortion that looks like a flamingo attempting martial arts." - "Nationals vs. Braves: Nats are hitting their stride as pennant race heats up" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "The Nationals’ bullpen is exceptionally deep. As the most veteran of the group, Michael Gonzalez, put it on the last road trip, 'This bullpen, you don’t mess with it.'" - "Nationals' bullpen provides the finishing touch" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Jordan Zimmermann went into yesterday's game leading the majors in ERA. In arguably his biggest start of the season, he had one of his worst performances..." - "Nationals Pastime: Digesting the details from last night" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The biggest series yet for the Nationals opened with a classic, tense game worthy of a pennant race." - "Instant analysis: Nats 5, Braves 4 (13)" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "'As a player, I would probably be a little upset. Like [Adam LaRoche] said, the playoffs are not a given. Whatever opportunities you have, you need to take advantage of them,' [Chipper] Jones said." - "Chipper Jones on Stephen Strasburg shutdown: ‘I would hate to squander this opportunity’" - Rick Maese, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'That last inning, it was Little League-esque,' Tim Hudson said." - "Uggla's bobble costs Braves in 5-4 loss to Nats" - WTOP.com

• "Will there be protestors outside the park chanting 'Pitch, Stephen, pitch. Pitch, Stephen, pitch?'" - "Thom Loverro: Nationals' shutdown of Strasburg a questionable decision" - Thom Loverro, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "What the difference this year? The team has a new philosophy about hitting compared to when Jim Riggleman was the manager." - "Johnson: Better approach key to Nats' better hitting" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "The Nationals must focus on monitoring the progress of Braves speedsters Michael Bourn and Jason Heyward. The two have combined to steal 50 bases." - "Big challenge awaits Suzuki as Braves runners arrive" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "[Jordan] Zimmermann’s command was off. He was rushing his delivery. For only the fourth time all season, Zimmermann allowed four runs in an outing." - "The implications of the Nationals wild 13-inning win over the Braves" - James Wagner, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "After his start, the Nationals brought Giolito to see team medical director Wiemi Douoguih, who found the same injury that Giolito had dealt with before the draft..." - "Nationals top pick Lucas Giolito may need Tommy John surgery" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Top Nationals draft pick Lucas Giolito has been shut down after making only one start as a professional and could need Tommy John surgery to repair a torn elbow ligament." - "Tommy John surgery possible for Nats' prospect Giolito" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "'We knew when we drafted [Lucas Giolito] this was an issue,' Rizzo said. 'We were comfortable with the fact that worst-case scenario it was Tommy John surgery.'" - "Nationals prospect Giolito injures elbow again" - Brian McNally, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "'If he needs surgery, we're going to give him the surgery. There's no sense in delaying it. We're in the process of getting a second opinion [about whether] he needs the surgery.'" - "Nats' top pick Giolito has ailing right elbow" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "The options here are for Giolito to either have Tommy John surgery, a procedure which would knock him out for somewhere close to a full year, or continue trying to rehab the injury without going under the knife." - "Nationals Pastime: Rizzo discusses Lucas Giolito's latest setback (we're under way in D.C.)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'I wasn’t doing it for heroism,' Jackson said, baffled by the group of reporters who approached him after a game he didn't even pitch in." - "Edwin Jackson's notable warm-up and Ian Desmond's notable home run" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'If [Lucas Gioltio] needs surgery, we’re going to give him the surgery,' Rizzo said. 'There’s no sense in delaying it.'" - "Nats top pick Lucas Giolito re-injures elbow, to see specialist" - James Wagner, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'We're very young,' manager Davey Johnson said. 'This is great. This is the learning curve. This is experience.'" - "Nats win marathon in dramatic fashion" - Mark Zuckerman, CSNWashington.com

• "'Both teams used their bullpens and probably won't be so fresh [Tuesday],' [Chad] Tracy said. 'Knowing we're six games up, we come out and play our game knowing we can't be more than four back, it's huge.'" - "Nationals open big series with 13-inning victory over Braves" - Brian McNally, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "So is Nats general manager Mike Rizzo, who put this plan in place, being stubborn to a fault or commendably cautious with the ace and face of the starting rotation?" - "Mike Rizzo sides with doctors in Stephen Strasburg debate" - Anthony Castrovince, nationals.com: News

• "It was only a win because Dan Uggla bobbled Chad Tracy's ground ball with one out in the 13th and runners on the corners." - "Nationals Pastime: Recapping Nationals' weird, wild 13-inning win" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'I'm speaking strictly of repertoire. He has three pitches that nobody else in the game has,' said [Chipper] Jones, who has two hits in seven career at-bats against [Stephen] Strasburg." - "Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals - August 21, 2012" - Cash Kruth, MLB.com Preview

• "The clock on the outfield scoreboard taunted them. As Monday turned to Tuesday and the pivotal game between the two best teams in the National League East wore on, the white numbers glared out at the players on the field." - "The Nationals beat the Braves 5-4 in 13 innings to extend NL East lead" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "It’s an especially tough position for Lombardozzi, the team’s frequent leadoff hitter who was among the hottest hitters in baseball over the past two weeks before he was pushed to the bench." - "Steve Lombardozzi staying sharp despite less playing time" - James Wagner, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "[Ian] Desmond's 18th homer of the season made it a 4-1 lead and resoundingly answered questions about whether it's worth putting him in the lineup." - "Nationals Pastime: Desmond's up there, ready to party (Nats win in 13th)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen and Sean Burnett had already begun making National League hitters look silly, even as the Nationals limped to a 69-93, fifth-place finish." - "Nationals' bullpen a large part of club's success" - Matthew Leach, nationals.com: News

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "I have found that the greatest degree of inner peace comes from cultivating love and compassion."

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Short Season Auburn: "The Doubledays tied the game in the ninth when RF Brandon Miller leadoff the inning with a line drive single up the middle." - "Doubledays lose to Batavia in extras" - Eli Pearlstein, Auburn Doubledays News

Class-A Short Season Auburn: "The Auburn Doubledays battled back from a three run deficit to force extra innings, but lost to the Batavia Muckdogs 7-4 in 10 innings at Falcon Park Monday." - "Doubledays lose in extra innings" - The Auburn Citizen

Class-A Hagerstown: Intimidators 11, Suns 4 - Billy Burns 3 for 5, 1R, 1RBI; Dixon Anderson - 0.2 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks - Hagerstown Suns Scoreboard

Double-A Harrisburg: Senators 5, Phillies 2 - Anthony Rendon - 1 for 3, 1 HR, 1 BB; Paul Demny - 5.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

Triple-A Syracuse: "The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, were shut out by the Indianapolis Indians, 2-0, Monday night at Alliance Bank Stadium." - "Chiefs silenced in loss to Indians" - Syracuse Chiefs News

Triple-A Syracuse: "[Corey] Brown is in the top ten in the league in hits, triples, homers, runs scored, and on-base percentage, but the textbook says bunt to move the runners up into scoring position." - "Chiefs on the brink of elimination" - Ben Meyers, The Auburn Citizen

• "The Nationals' selections for participation in the Arizona Fall League will be decided in about one week, according to a club source." - "Details on how Nationals' AFL roster will break down" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

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

• NATSTOWN:

• "'They had their chances. We had our chances. It was one of those games.' - Nats manager Davey Johnson." - "Washington Nationals Game 122 Review: Crazy play ends crazy game after 13 innings" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "Up above, Chad Tracy gets the ice bucket after his 13th inning walk-off Uggla-aided single won a weird one for the Nats." - "Chaditude!" - Nats Enquirer

• "Chaditude!" - Jenn Jenson, Nationals Fangirl

• "During the dark days of 2009, with the Nationals mired in first place in the Bryce Harper draft sweepstakes, I looked to the minor leagues for solace." - "Enjoying Espinosa more and more" - Nationals Buzz: Stephen Walker, MASNSports.com

• "The game had a little bit of everything: exciting offense and lethargic offense, stellar pitching and questionable pitching, and an insanely boneheaded play that cost the Atlanta Braves the game in a 5-4 loss in 13 innings." - "Nats Squeak Past Braves Following Uggla's Remarkable Faux Pas" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "August 21, 1908: To settle a bet between two gentlemen, Washington Senators catcher Charles 'Gabby' Street agreed to try to catch a baseball dropped from the Washington Monument..." - "This Day in D.C. Baseball History – Gabby’s Monumental Catch" - Mark Hornbaker, D.C. Baseball History

• "Harper’s great expectations" - Joseph Michelizzi, Positive Mental Natitude

• "The postscript soured the moment, for a few dozen fans who didn't realize Metro had stopped running at midnight." - "Metro-riding Nats fans stranded after 13-inning game" - Neal Augenstein, WTOP.com

• "Presidents race observers have long suspected that race judge Screech was in the pocket of speedy rail splitter Abraham Lincoln." - "Video: In extra 13th-inning race, Abe steals a W" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "Hey it's Mr. Shutdown himself! Strasburg has been very unhittable recently (8 hits in his last 18 innings), but also very wild (4 walks a piece in his last two games)." - "BRAVES SERIES - GAME 2" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "For a deposit of $29,500 and the same amount for each additional hour the rail system is open, WMATA will keep the trains running." - "Nats need to do their part to keep Metro open during late games" - William Yurasko, William World News

• "Nats rookie continues his season-long assault on baseball lumber in extra innings against the Braves." - "Bryce Harper shatters another bat on home plate" - Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "R.A. Dickey’s drive toward 20 wins remains littered with potholes to rival those on the Grand Central Parkway." - "R.A. Dickey of New York Mets pitches well, but bullpen and bats fail in 3-1 loss to Colorado Rockies" - Mike Puma, NYPOST.com

Phillies: "IT BEGAN with a boo. In the second act of a fifth inning that saw the Phillies and Cincinnati Reds score a combined seven runs, Jimmy Rollins struck out looking to begin the bottom half of the frame." - "Rollins part of Phillies' winning effort" - Ryan Lawrence, Philadelphia Inquirer

Marlins: "Joe Saunders blanked the Marlins in April. On Monday, the Marlins bloodied him to a pulp." - "PHOENIX: Miami Marlins offense explodes in victory over Arizona Diamondbacks" - Clark Spencer, MiamiHerald.com

Braves: "But somehow the Braves still managed to lose the game in a stunning way, on three balls that never left the infield." - "Braves lose stunner in marathon opener vs Nats – updated" - Carroll Rogers, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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