Wire Taps: Washington Nationals And Philadelphia Phillies Start Series In Nats Park North.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 21: A general view of Citizens Bank Park during the game between the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on August 21, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

• The Nationals dropped two of three to the Phillies the last time the two teams met in the nation's capital on July 31-Aug 2nd. On the year, the Nats hold a 5-4 lead in the season series with the NL East rivals. Washington has nine games left with the five-time defending NL East champs, so there's a lot of Philllies action coming up over the next month-plus that remains on the 2012 schedule. Edwin Jackson takes the mound in Citizens Bank Park tonight coming off a dominant 11-K outing against the New York Mets in which he allowed just two hits and two runs though he took the loss when the Nationals' offense came up empty. The Phillies are coming off a series split with the NL Central-leading Reds, which lifted them to nine games under .500 at 58-67, 19.5 games behind the NL East-leading Nationals. The Braves dropped a game to the Giants last night, so Atlanta's 6.5 behind the Nationals before play begins today. Can Bryce Harper pick up the offense? Will Jayson Werth, back in Philly for the first time since he returned from a broken wrist he heard Philly fans cheer in Nats Park, make the Phillies pay for their fans' lack of tact? That day off went on forever, let's get back to baseball. Nats vs Phillies tonight from Citizens Bank. Until then it's the links, and lots of them, starting RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!:

• "'I don’t even know when they’re shutting down [Stephen] Strasburg, and I don’t need to. They’re following expert medical opinion, and that’s all I care about.'" - "Scott Boras discusses his influence with the Nationals and Stephen Strasburg’s innings limit" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "Lucas Giolito, the Washington Nationals’ top pick in this year’s draft, will have Tommy John surgery Aug. 31, a team source told The Washington Times on Thursday." - "Lucas Giolito, Nationals' 2012 top pick, to undergo Tommy John surgery" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Lucas] Giolito made his professional debut in the Florida Gulf Coast League on Aug. 14, throwing two innings. But in the aftermath, the pain he had spent months recovering from returned, and the need for surgery arose." - "Lucas Giolito, the Nationals’ top draft pick, will undergo Tommy John surgery" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Owner of a .210 batting average and .279 on-base percentage over his last 59 games, [Bryce] Harper is putting up numbers worse than anyone on the Nationals roster who isn't a catcher or pitcher." - "Does Harper deserve everyday job?" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "'If I was sitting over in that clubhouse,' [Chipper] Jones said this week, 'I would hate to squander this opportunity.'" - "Nationals' Strasburg shutdown is DC's big debate" - Joseph White, AP/WTOP.com

• "Before the start of the 2012 season, a late-August series between the Nationals and Phillies at Citizens Bank Park might have sounded like a highly dramatic divisional clash." - "Nationals Pastime: Revisiting a couple criticized spring predictions" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "But [Davey] Johnson added one caveat: one of those players may have not been with the team this season but spent time with the Nationals in spring training." - "Who are the Nationals potential September call-ups?" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "The two teams begin a three-game series Friday with Washington (77-47) hoping to take another step toward a division title." - "Phillies still are formidable foes" - Brian McNally, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "Since the All-Star Game, the Nationals have played 41 games in 41 days. Now, they get two off days in the span of five days..." - "Washington Nationals: The importance of days off" - Thomas Boswell, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "So [Kurt] Suzuki, with six years and more than 700 games of experience, was an immediate upgrade for his wisdom and prowess in calling games behind the plate." - "Suzuki brings experience, wisdom to Nats" - Mike Fiammetta, nationals.com: News

• "'He’s such a young pitcher, such a tremendous talent, and I think prevention and being careful with these high-level pitchers is certainly admirable,' [Dr. James] Andrews said." - "Dr. James Andrews backs the Nats" - Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• "A. I think it's a bit presumptuous to assume how convincing Nats fans will find the thoughts of Dr. James Andrews. B. Andrews didn't back the Nats' decision as much as he declined to criticize it." - "Dr. James Andrews Weighs In On Strasburg Issue" - Rob Neyer, Baseball Nation

• "Nationals manager Davey Johnson indicated on Wednesday that right-hander Stephen Strasburg will miss the last two to three starts of the 2012 regular season." - "Nats discuss adding starter when Stras shut down" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "'I’m one of the many people to have a man-crush on Ryan Zimmerman, too — to have those three guys standing out there, it meant a lot to me, along with Mike Rizzo.'" - "Chipper Jones signs jerseys for Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, admits ‘man-crush’ on Ryan Zimmerman" - James Wagner, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "As we get deeper into the season and Stephen Strasburg's shutdown date nears, Detwiler will need to continue progressing." - "Nationals Pastime: Detwiler's importance down the stretch" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The only real significance of the August 31 deadline is that it marks the final day in which a player can be acquired from another organization and be eligible to participate in the postseason." - "Who's eligible for the postseason roster?" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Zim on playoffs, Strasburg, Gold Glove" - Nats Insider

• "'I don’t feel fatigued at all,' [Bryce] Harper said, chuckling at the suggestion and jokingly adding, 'I’m ripped right now, so I’m good.'" - "Bryce Harper coping with physical, mental demands of major league season" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "I have a strange feeling, one I haven’t experienced in 19 years in our nation’s capital." - "Are the Nationals a team of destiny? Listen to the tingle" - Tracee Hamilton, The Washington Post

• "'It's something we don't take for granted,' shortstop Ian Desmond said. 'We've been playing well all year. Hopefully it continues.'" - "Nationals not overconfident with big lead" - Brian McNally, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "Right-hander Edwin Jackson will get the ball for the Nationals. He struck out a season-high 11 batters in seven innings in his start Saturday against the Mets." - "Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies - August 24, 2012" - Teddy Cahill, MLB.com Preview

• "The Nationals have won 14 of their last 17 games on the road because they score more runs away from Nationals Park and continue to pitch very well." - "Even with Phillies down, Nats know journey to pennant goes through Philly" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Not all players are approachable. Two-time all-star Darin Erstad, who won a World Series with the 2002 Anaheim Angels, was known to never utter a word when on the bases." - "Nationals, other players find something to talk about on the base paths" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "Strangely enough, when [Bryce] Harper first came up to the big leagues, he was super-patient, waiting on the soft stuff away and forcing pitchers to challenge him with fastballs once they got behind in the count." - "Nationals Pastime: How to handle Harper's struggles" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'Desi, he scared me to death,' [Davey] Johnson said. 'I forgot about the game when I saw him.'" - "Despite scares, Nationals dodge injuries to Ian Desmond, Kurt Suzuki" - Stephen Whyno, Washington Times

• "The Nationals had opportunities to score against Atlanta's starter, the biggest coming in the sixth inning, when Washington had the bases loaded with one out." - "Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals - August 22, 2012" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "The best way of fulfilling your own interest is to take care of others."

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Short Season Auburn: "Down 3-2 entering the seventh, the Doubledays rallied to send 10 hitters to the plate." - "Doubledays take rubber game against Spikes 6-3" - Eli Pearlstein, Auburn Doubledays News

Class-A Short Season Auburn: "Gary Cathcart gave a warning to his team after the seventh inning Wednesday." - "Doubledays can't capitalize in 12-inning loss" - Jeremy Houghtaling, The Auburn Citizen

Class-A Hagerstown: Suns 8, Shorebirds 5 - Billy Burns - 2 for 3, 1 2B, 1 BB; Taylor Jordan - 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 Ks - Hagerstown Suns Scoreboard

Class-A Potomac: "[Alex] Meyer (3-2) got the win by tossing six quality innings giving up just one run. He only threw 74 pitches striking out three and scattering five hits." - "Meyer, Nationals Beat Mudcats 7-5" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: Baysox 17, Senators 2 - Brian Goodwin - 1 for 5, 2 Ks; Ryan Perry - 4.0 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

Triple-A Syracuse: "Left-hander Zach Duke would shut out the Braves on no hits through four innings, but Gwinnett (60-73) finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth." - "Chiefs lose early lead, fall to Braves" - Syracuse Chiefs News

Triple-A Syracuse: "Line of the Day: Eury Perez, 3-for-5, 2B, SB. Perez raised his average to .341 in Triple-A this season thanks, in part, to his seventh double of the year with the Chiefs." - "Braves rally past Chiefs" - Ben Meyers, The Auburn Citizen

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

• NATSTOWN:

• "In any case, I now present a recent discussion of Teddy’s epic losing streak from Fox Sports South’s coverage of the Nats-Braves series." - "Braves announcers suggest Nats won’t win World Series until Teddy wins a race" - Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• "Spotlight on Alex Meyer" - Joseph Michelizzi, Positive Mental Natitude

• "Phillies claim sole possession of third place in NL East" - Nats Enquirer

• "August 24, 1913 - With the Senators ahead, 2-1, in the bottom of the 9th, two Chicago baserunners reach base off Walter Johnson." - "This Date in Washington Senators History" - Art Audley, D.C. Baseball History

• "Nats Talk On The Go: Episode 32"- The Nats Blog

• "There wasn’t a follow-up question, so we’ll have to parse Davey’s words a bit in order to take a guess at the players he’s talking about." - "Washington Nationals: Potential candidates for September callups" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "Shark Week Wrap Up" - Sharkadina

• "Rather than put down a $29,500 deposit on keeping the Metro going for an extra hour in the event of a really late game, they’ve asked the District to do it. Huh?" - "Nats want District to pay for overtime Metro" - William Yurasko, William World News

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "The Mets moved right along with their ugly and embarrassing plummet yesterday afternoon, getting swept in a four-game set by the woeful Rockies..." - "New York Mets lose to Colorado Rockies, 1-0 on Thursday afternoon at Citi Field" - Mark Hale, NYPOST.com

Marlins: "If Ozzie Guillen and some others had their way, Donovan Solano would have been a Miami Marlin from Day 1." - "Miami Marlins: Donovan Solano capitalizing on opportunity" - Juan C. Rodriguez, South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

Braves: "[Kris] Medlen is 9-0 with a 3.01 ERA in 19 starts since beginning of 2010 season, including Wednesday’s win at Washington. and the Braves are 18-1 in those games." - "Medlen belongs in Braves rotation rest of season and beyond" - David O'Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Phillies: "He had watched 390 pitches in 4 hours and 24 minutes, and now even the wins feel like defeats for Charlie Manuel's Phillies." - "Phillies outlast Reds on Mayberry's single in 11th" - Matt Gelb, Philadelphia Inquirer

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