Wire Taps: Stephen Strasburg Tries To Help Washington Nationals Avoid Sweep In Finale With St. Louis Cardinals

USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals' right-hander Stephen Strasburg will try to help the Nats snap their five-game losing streak in Nationals Park when he takes the mound against the St. Louis Cardinals this afternoon in the nation's capital against Cards' starter Jaime Garcia.

After last night's loss to the St. Louis Cardinals dropped the Washington Nationals to 10-10 overall, Nats' skipper Davey Johnson told reporters that he might make some changes to the lineup. The 70-year-old skipper said it was also about time his team got a little angry about what's been going on. "I'm usually pretty patient," Johnson said, "But I'm getting to my rope's end. The effort is there, but we're just not getting it done. We've got the players who can get it done, but we're just not getting it done. It's time to get a little mad." When the Nats announced their lineup for today's game there was one notable change and a different catcher in a day game after a night game:

Adam LaRoche went 0 for 4 with 4 Ks last night. He gets the day off today. Over his last five games, the 32-year-old first baseman is 2 for 17 with 11 Ks, so Tyler Moore gets a chance to start as Johnson told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s The Sports Junkies this morning. "I'm going to with Moore," the Nationals' skipper said, "Moore is going to play first base," but much to the dismay of Nats fans everywhere who are wondering why Steve Lombardozzi's not getting more time at second instead of Danny Espinosa, Johnson said, "I like Espinosa, [he's] making progress, and he's also hit [Jaime Garcia] pretty good so I'm going to stay with Espinosa." Espinosa's 4 for 9 vs Garcia in their respective careers, but after 16 games and 57 plate appearances, he has a .167/.211/.315 line. Espinosa's 2 for 14 with a double in his last five games. Will a start against a left-hander help the switch-hitting infielder catch fire? We'll find out at 1:05 pm EST. Until then it's links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY:

• "Everybody in baseball knows this. Yet in any season, every team loses itself at least once, often for weeks at a time, and has to find its way back." - "Washington Nationals need to focus on brush strokes, not big picture" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "I asked [Ryan] Mattheus this afternoon about the most rewarding part of the experience. The Nationals reliever told me a story about Travis Mills, a quadriplegic veteran who Mattheus met on a trip to Walter Reed last year." - "Nationals Pastime: An uplifting story, plus a Chris Young update (Nats trail)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Would this be the night the Nationals' offense finally got going again? Not with Adam Wainwright on the mound." - "Instant analysis: Cardinals 2, Nats 0" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Patience collided with urgency Tuesday night somewhere between Davey Johnson’s office and the Washington Nationals’ clubhouse, which houses a team unfamiliar with losing and, maybe, conflicted about how it should respond." - "Nationals vs. Cardinals: Adam Wainwright shuts down Washington in a 2-0 win for St. Louis" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "Manager Mike Matheny joked about [Adam] Wainwright's long stretch without throwing four balls to a batter, calling it a 'walk-less streak,' then asking: 'Is there such a word, a 'walk-less' streak?'" - "Wainwright goes 8-plus as Cards beat Nationals 2-0" - Howard Fendrich, WTOP.com

• "[Anthony] Rendon got the ball from that first hit (an RBI double) and did what any good son does. He gave it to his mother." - "Rendon gives ball from first hit to mother" - Jeff Seidel, nationals.com: News

• “'Sometimes, you need to back off and let it do what it’s supposed to do and throw it just down the middle,' Stammen said." - "Craig Stammen, the Nationals’ high-leverage long reliever" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Lost in some of the rough outings for the bullpen has been the consistent pitching of right-hander Craig Stammen." - "Stammen's consistent outings are backbone of Nationals bullpen" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "'The whole team is frustrated,' [Adam] LaRoche said. 'What are you going to do? Are you going to try harder? Are you going to swing harder? It doesn’t work.'" - "Nationals manager Davey Johnson: time to get a little mad" - Mike Harris, Washington Times

• "This year's team has a slash line of .236/.301/.405, has hit 23 home runs and is averaging 3.7 runs per game. Last year's team had a slash line of .231/.309/.333 through 20 games, had hit 12 home runs and was averaging 3.5 runs per game." - "Nationals Pastime: Frustration slowly building, but confidence remains" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Not only is [Adam] Wainwright one of the hottest pitchers in baseball, he took to the mound a source of extra motivation." - "Nats run into rolling Wainwright" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Manager Davey Johnson wishes he had the answer to what could get his team going, back on the near 100-win pace they maintained last season, but he can tell you what is going wrong." - "Davey diagnoses Nats' problems; Cedeno claimed off waivers" - Chase Hughes, Comcast SportsNet Washington

• "During their recent power outage, the Washington Nationals have been silenced by pitchers dynamic (Matt Harvey) and crafty (Paul Maholm), illustrious (Tim Hudson) and obscure (Dylan Gee)." - "Anemic Nationals lineup goes silent again in loss to Cardinals" - Kevin Dunleavy, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "After 20 games last season, the Nationals stood at 14-6 and never really faltered from there, cruising to 98 victories and a division title." - "St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals - April 24, 2013" Andrew Simon, MLB.com Preview

• "Time to get mad? Twenty games into a 162-game marathon? That may seem a bit premature..." - "After another loss, time for Nats to 'get mad'" - Mark Zuckerman, Comcast SportsNet Washington

• "[Gio] Gonzalez thinks he has identified a flaw in his mechanics early this season, which he attributes to a rushed delivery and approach." - "Gio Gonzalez on his early command issues, trying to slow down" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "After their eighth loss in 11 games dropped the Washington Nationals to .500 for the first time in more than a year, manager Davey Johnson promised lineup changes and said he hopes players 'get a little mad.'" - "Losses Keep Piling Up For Nats; Lineup Changes Coming" - Dan Morrison, CBS DC

• "Nats catcher Kurt Suzuki said he has played when it has been as cold as it is in Denver and it isn’t much fun." - "Baby, it's not THAT cold outside: Nats lineups and more" - Mike Harris, Washington Times

• "Four times he faced one of his best friends, Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright, and four times the right-hander struck out [Adam] LaRoche." - "LaRoche's four strikeouts a symbol of Nationals' recent offensive woes" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "In addition, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said during batting practice before Tuesday's game that he's completely confident in [Dan] Haren." - "Haren frustrated, but Nats have confidence" - Jeff Seidel, nationals.com: News

• "Nobody understands the Nationals current struggles better than Ryan Zimmerman, who’s battled through his own adversity of being labeled ‘injury prone’ while his team has slipped into a downward spiral." - "Ryan Zimmerman Battles Injuries, Losing, But Wages His Greatest Fight Against MS" - Chris Lingebach, CBS DC

• "While [Davey] Johnson didn’t forecast his lineup tweaks, he suggested he would give a day off to players who were struggling." - "A closer look at the Nationals lineup" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "Typically a guy that preaches the need to keep an even keel over the course of a 162-game season, Davey Johnson has seen about enough." - "Nationals Pastime: Davey Johnson: 'It's time to get mad'" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The frustration on manager Davey Johnson's face was clearly visible before the skipper said one word in Tuesday night's postgame media conference." - "St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals - April 23, 2013" - Jeff Seidel, MLB.com WSH Recap

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

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "When it's time to decide whether a starter should get a chance to finish a potential shutout, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny will sometimes seek out Adam Wainwright in the dugout or find the ace standing nearby, ready with an opinion." - "WASHINGTON: Wainwright and Cardinals mystify the Nationals" - Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MiamiHerald.com

• "[Ian] Desmond is the power-hitting shortstop for what most people expect will be the National League's best team in 2013, playing in an awfully large media market." - "The Nationals' Ian Desmond has quietly become great." - Howard Medgal, SportsonEarth.com : Howard Megdal Article

• "[Adam] Wainwright (4-1) lowered his ERA to 1.93 by going 8 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing only five hits and striking out nine, before Edward Mujica got the final two outs for his third save." - "St. Louis Cardinals vs. Washington Nationals - Recap - April 23, 2013" - AP/ESPN

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Hagerstown: "Hagerstown put up its only run in the bottom of the fourth on a solo homerun from DH Wander Ramos to begin the inning." - "Suns bats kept at bay in 3-1 loss" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News

Class-A Potomac: "Nationals RHP A.J. Cole (0-1) faced adversity from the get-go in the 1st inning allowing four consecutive base hits to CF..." - "Balanced Carolina Attack Eclipses Nationals 7-1" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: "Brian Goodwin hit a lead off home run, but the Reading Fightin Phils rallied with four runs in the ninth inning and held on to defeat the Harrisburg Senators 7-5 at Metro Bank Park." - "Reading Rallies Late to Beat Sens 7-5" - Marshall Kelner, Harrisburg Senators News

Triple-A Syracuse: "The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, won the first of a four-game series with the Rochester Red Wings on Tuesday in walkoff fashion, 8-7." - "Van Ostrand lifts Chiefs to 13-inning win" - Syracuse Chiefs News

Triple-A Syracuse: "After [Chris] Young filed paperwork last month to exercise the opt-out clause in his original agreement, both sides remained open and optimistic at reaching a new deal." - "Chris Young makes his first start, other minor league updates" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "In front of a near empty house, Jimmy Van Ostrand had his second walk-off winner of the season." - "Van Ostrand with his second walk-off hit as Chiefs get win" - Ben Meyers, The Auburn Citizen

• "Transaction Update"- Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• NATSTOWN:

• "Navy Football Team To Be Honored At The Washington Nationals Game On Saturday" - NAVYSPORTS.com

• "Washington Nationals Walk-Up Music 2013" - Cheryl Nichols, District Sports Page

• "Davey: 'It's time to get a little mad.'" -

• "So as the presidents were being introduced on the video scoreboard, Jefferson parked himself in a chair on the outfield warning track to watch the start of the presidents race." - "Video: Presidents switch directions, but Nats luck doesn’t change" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "#Notitude?" - Nats Enquirer

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Marlins: "It was a bone-chilling 38 degrees when Jose Fernandez took the mound at Target Field on Tuesday, and a still nippy 42 by the time Ricky Nolasco got there." - "MINNEAPOLIS: Miami Marlins split doubleheader with Minnesota Twins" - Clark Spencer, MiamiHerald.com

Braves: "Hall of Famers Lloyd and Paul Waner, famed 'Little Poison' and 'Big Poison' of the 1938 Pirates, were the only brothers to previously hit consecutive homers in the same inning, according to the Society for American Baseball Research." - "Braves have hot bats in cold Denver game" - David O'Brien, www.ajc.com

Mets: "If Mets fans need a new opposing player to revile, now that Chipper Jones and his Met-killing ways have called it a career, they might want to take a long, hard look at Mark Ellis." - "Jon Niese goes down with right leg contusion, LA Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis batters NY Mets pitching in loss" - Sean Brennan, NY Daily News

Phillies: "If the Phillies' bats had a Coors Light label, the mountains would be blue. Cold bats are not nearly as thirst-quenching as cold beer..." - "Inside the Phillies: Cold bats are just part of the Phillies' problem" - Bob Brookover, Philadelphia Inquirer

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