Wire Taps: Washington Nationals And St. Louis Cardinals Back At It Again In D.C. Tonight

Rob Carr

The Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals start their first series since last October's NLDS tonight in the nation's capital. Personally, we can't wait to hear the reaction Pete "Cosmos" Kozma receives the first time he steps to the plate. What? Is the Kozma-hate only from five people on Twitter? Does all of D.C. hate "Cosmos"?

Are you ready to relive Game 5 yet? Too bad if you said, "No," because the St. Louis Cardinals are in town and that's all anyone will be talking about, at least until the games start tonight. The Pete Kozma hate on Twitter is strong this morning. It wasn't just his Game 5 "heroics" that make him one of the most hated players in the majors for D.C. baseball fans. The then-24-year-old '07 1st Round pick and Cards' second baseman Daniel Descalso had been causing trouble throughout the NLDS. Kozma was 2 for 11 with a home run, double and five walks in four games before he helped win it for St. Louis in the ninth inning of Game 5. Descalso, 25 at the time, was 3 for 14 with a home run in the first four games. Before Game 4, Davey Johnson singled the two players who'd eventually come through in Game 5 out as the unlikely ones who were causing the Nationals issues. "Yeah, Kozma's been swinging the bat very good against us," Johnson said, "We have made really bad pitches to him. He likes the fastball and he likes it down the middle, and we've been giving it to him."

"And second baseman, Descalso," Johnson continued, ".220 hitter, he looks like [Robinson] Cano out there with the power. When you make -- both of them are good fastball hitters and you make fastballs down the middle they are going to hurt you."

A night later they did hurt the Nationals. Descalso hit a a game-tying, two-out, two-run single off Ian Desmond's glove and Kozma (or "Cosmos" as Davey Johnson actually called him in the quote above) hit the two-run single that put the Cards ahead. Just watch it again, it can't hurt you and it will help with the healing... I think....


Game Time 7:05 pm EST tonight. The Cardinals are back in the nation's capital. Sweep the Birds!!!

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "Boston has Bucky Dent. Pittsburgh has Francisco Cabrera. Philadelphia has Joe Carter. And as of last Oct. 12, Washington has Pete Kozma." - "Pete Kozma and St. Louis Cardinals return to face Washington Nationals after dramatic 2012 NLDS" - Barry Svrluga, The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "In the slog that is a 162-game baseball season, the importance of the way a team starts the season often teeters on a high wire." - "Nationals done in by 'some pretty bad baseball'" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Six games against the Marlins and Mets? That'll be the remedy for whatever has been ailing this Nationals team early on this season, right?" - "Nationals Pastime: Returning home still searching for some answers" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Forget, for a moment, the 18 errors in 18 games, the maddening rotation, the 5.04 bullpen ERA, the three shutout losses, the negative-14 run differential, Dan Haren’s first three starts and the taste in your mouth." - "The Nationals’ standing is better than their performance" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "So the Nationals are by no means a failure at this early stage of the season. They are, perhaps, a disappointment." - "Why have the Nats been so inconsistent?" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Prior to Sunday, Gee was in a pitching slump, allowing 12 runs in his previous 7 2/3 innings. It looked like someone forgot to tell the Nationals." - "Washington Nationals at New York Mets - April 21, 2013" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "It is possible the first 38 days of the season will be the toughest for the Nationals..." - "Nationals' start is a little off schedule" - Brian McNally, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "With both teams intent on returning to the postseason this year, the two NL powerhouses will meet Monday night for the first time since last year's dramatic playoff series..." - "St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals - April 22, 2013" - Paul Casella, MLB.com Preview

• "The promotion of third baseman Anthony Rendon from Double-A Harrisburg is a great opportunity for the organization's top prospect." - "Rendon's ripple effects, plus notes on Oduber and Karns" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "One day after he was preparing for a doubleheader in Double-A Harrisburg, Rendon took a cab from Manhattan to Citi Field with veteran Chad Tracy." - "Anthony Rendon arrives in the major leagues" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Nothing went right for the Nationals once the game started yesterday, but one thing that happened before first pitch was perfect..." - "The Nationals had perfect timing for Anthony Rendon’s service time" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "[Anthony] Rendon is a guy who we think is going to be a long-term part of the organization. We thought it was a good time until Zim gets back full-time." - "Nationals top prospect Anthony Rendon makes big league debut" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "The Nats are 10-7 at the moment, good enough for second in the N.L. East, but anyone who has watched the team closely could tell you they have been inconsistent." - "How long will Rendon stay with Nats?" - Chase Hughes, NatsInsider.com

• "Washington appeared poised to break through at the plate when pinch-hitter Steve Lombardozzi singled leading off the eighth and Denard Span walked." - "Not a smart swing for Jayson Werth, Nationals" - Mike Fitzpatrick, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "[Jayson] Werth is often hailed as a very smart baseball player, a cerebral player who sees a lot of things on the field and has good instincts." - "Looking at Jayson Werth's 3-0 double play from the eyes of those on the field" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Jayson] Werth, the oldest and most experienced player on the Nationals, achieved a measure of ignominy unmatched this season." - "Jayson Werth’s 3-0 swing leads to pivotal double play in Nationals’ loss" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "[Jordan] Zimmermann needed 33 pitches to get through the fourth inning, and walked two hitters, but did a nice job limiting the damage." - "Nationals Pastime: Nats yet to get to Gee (Nats lose game, series in New York)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Infielder Steve Lombardozzi is always ready to play, and he proved it once again when second baseman Danny Espinosa went down with a hand injury last week." - "Lombardozzi always ready when Nats call his name" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama):

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "After surrendering consecutive singles in the first, [Dillon Gee] popped up Ian Desmond and only gave up one more hit — Jayson Werth’s third-inning single." - "New York Mets defeat Washington Nationals, 2-0" - Brian Lewis, NYPOST.com

• "Following a pair of poor starts, Gee (1-3) used an effective changeup to toss three-hit ball over 5 2-3 innings." - "Mets 'get lucky' thanks to Nationals gaffe, win again" - AP/USA TODAY Sports

• "The biggest surprise of all, though — the core of the postgame discussion in both clubhouses — was a crucial, possibly misguided eighth-inning swing by Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth." - "Mets and Gee Beat Nationals, With Bullpen and Defensive Help" - Andrew Keh, NYTimes.com

• "The Cardinals knocked the upstart Nationals out of the postseason last year with a dramatic four-run comeback in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the NLDS." - "Eye On Rivalries: Nationals, Cardinals set for NLDS rematch" - Dayn Perry, CBSSports.com

• "[Ross] Detwiler has an earned-run average of 0.90, basically using one pitch. In his three previous starts, Detwiler has thrown 279 pitches, 258 of them fastballs." - "Preview: Cardinals at Washington" - Rick Hummel, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Hagerstown: "Hagerstown responded right away with its only two runs coming in the top of the fourth. Both runs came from one swing of the bat from CF Wander Ramos..." - "Power surge lifts West Virginia over Suns in series finale" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News

Class-A Potomac: "Potomac LHP Robbie Ray, who did not receive a decision, was terrific on the mound and struck out a single outing career-high 10 batters." - "Nieto Two-RBI Knock Carries P-Nats to Victory in Series Finale" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: "Brian Goodwin hit his first home run of the season, but the Harrisburg Senators dropped the series finale to the Altoona Curve 4-1, in front of 3,352 fans at Metro Bank Park on Sunday afternoon." - "Goodwin Homers But Sens Drop Series Finale 4-1" - Marshall Kelner, Harrisburg Senators News

Triple-A Syracuse: "The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, fell short in a 5-1 loss on Sunday afternoon to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders." - "Chiefs fall, 5-1, at RailRiders" - Syracuse Chiefs News

Triple-A Syracuse: "For the second straight start Danny Rosenbaum pitched good enough to win it, but didn’t." - "Chiefs fall for sixth time in last seven, Kobernus keeps punishing baseballs" - Ben Meyers, The Auburn Citizen

• "Adrian Nieto's flare to shallow left with two outs in the 8th plated two to break a 1-1 tie and help the P-Nats return to .500 with a 3-1 win." - "Sunday Afternoon In Woodbridge" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

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

• "Washington Nationals Minor League Update for the Week of 4/21/13" - Ryan Kelley, District Sports Page

• NATSTOWN:

• "Nats Game Logs on this Date" - Mark Hornbaker, D.C. Baseball History

• "Jayson Werth on 3-0 swing: 'That’s probably one of the dumber things I’ve done on the field in a while.'" - Nats Enquirer

• "Nats Talk On The Go: Episode 50" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "I'll admit I'm a bit worried about the Nats. Not that they won't make the playoffs or anything like that, but there's a little too much 'let's try to recreate last year's magic' going on." - "Monday Quickie - Still don't worry." - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "Welcome to the big leagues, Anthony Rendon." - "Nationals Buzz: Keep expectations realistic for Anthony Rendon" - Marty Niland, MASNSports.com

• "Welcome back, Pete Bleeping Kozma" - Nats Enquirer

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "To put it mildly, Dillon Gee was ticked off for nearly two weeks. His start in Philadelphia had him furious. His start in Colorado had him frustrated." - "Dillon Gee earns first win as NY Mets shut out Washington Nationals, 2-0" - Kristie Ackert, NY Daily News

Braves: "On the batters’ box: 'I don’t like to (complain) about too much but it made a difference, I thought. I tried to get through the first inning. It was just awkward.'" - "Braves quotes after Sunday’s loss to Pirates" - Carroll Rogers, www.ajc.com

Phillies: "Citizens Bank Park is a great place to play when you are a member of a winning team. But when expectations are not being met, the frustration in the stands can create some cringe-worthy moments." - "Phillies deck Cards" - David Murphy, Philadelphia Daily News

Marlins: "His voice dripping with sarcasm, slugger Giancarlo Stanton gave a whoop-dee-doo response when asked about finally driving in his first run of the season." - "CINCINNATI: Bad for Giancarlo Stanton, worse for Miami Marlins in loss to Cincinnati Reds" - Clark Spencer, MiamiHerald.com

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