Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Pick Up Mike Rizzo's Option For 2014; Nats Bust Out vs Reds

USA TODAY Sports

On the night that the Washington Nationals announced that they'd picked up GM Mike Rizzo's option for 2014, the Nats busted out offensively against the Cincinnati Reds with an 8-1 win that snapped a six-game home losing streak. Gio Gonzalez got the win, Bryce Harper and Danny Espinosa went yard...

I had the best of intentions last night. I got back from Nats Park around 11:45-ish p.m. after a nice 20 minute walk during which I was texting some friends to talk about the Nats' win and recommend they check out the song I was listening to as I walked, The Brian Jonestown Massacre's "Jennifer" (give it a listen, how many guitars are there?) and I planned on finishing up the story I had in mind for MASN on Henry Rodriguez and writing up a quick Danny Espinosa piece about his big night and then I sat down for a minute to finish rereading the first essay in the Cambridge Companion to Proust, which was about the "salons" detailed in his great work À la recherche du temps perdu and promptly fell asleep sitting in front of my computer, not because the essay was boring, but because I'd barely slept the night before after leaving NJ at 4:00 am to make it to D.C. in time for the pregame meeting before Stephen Strasburg's start against St. Louis Wednesday, then spent the day at the park and the night writing and... I was tired, whatever. I think that's long enough for an intro and serves as an explanation for why the Wire Taps are once again lunchtime reading instead of a relatively-early morning post...

• THE BIG STORY!!! (Today In Two Parts):

• "The Nationals have picked up general manager Mike Rizzo's option for 2014, according to a baseball source." - "Nationals pick up general manager Mike Rizzo's 2014 extension" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "[Mike] Rizzo said he is surprised by how the defense is playing. Entering Thursday's action, the Nationals were 30th in the Major Leagues in defense. But he believes it will get better." - "Rizzo most surprised by slow start on defense" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• NATS BEAT:

• "As expected, Nationals ownership took an immediate step to ensuring General Manager Mike Rizzo remains with the organization." - "Nationals officially exercise Mike Rizzo’s option for 2014" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "The Nationals had played very few well-rounded, team ballgames this season." - "Nationals Pastime: For a night, it all comes together" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "For days the Washington Nationals could do little right. They’d hit a ball on the screws, and it’d drop securely into an outfielder’s glove." - "Nationals bats awaken as Gio Gonzalez one-hits Reds" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Gio Gonzalez entered Thursday’s game coming off two forgettable starts with a deep and powerful Reds lineup awaiting." - "Instant Analysis: Nats 8, Reds 1" - Chase Hughes, NatsInsider.com

• "Denard Span had three hits, including a two-run triple, and Bryce Harper homered and doubled. But with apologies to those two, this game was largely about Gio Gonzalez and Danny Espinosa..." - "Nationals Pastime: Johnson discusses Nats' losing streak-busting 8-1 win" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'It's been a long time since we've been shaking hands,' Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. 'That's more like what we are -- good pitching and timely hitting.'" - "Gonzalez allows 1 hit in Nats' 8-1 win over Reds" - AP/WTOP.com

• "For a night at least, the Nationals looked like the team that inspired bold preseason proclamations of greatness." - "Nationals dominant in all facets in win over Reds" - Kevin Dunleavy, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "Two events stick out like sore thumbs: Murray Chass referring to Strasburg as a loser and Citi Field fans chanting 'Harvey’s better.'" - "Stephen Strasburg in 2013: Not a loser, just a little different" - Harry Pavlidis, Washington Post

• "[Danny] Espinosa’s performance came at a welcome time, as the second baseman entered the game in a major slump." - "Espinosa comes up big on 26th birthday" - Michael Huberman, NatsInsider.com

• "'It was first-pitch strikes,' [Gio] Gonzalez said. 'That was basically it. You try to attack the strike zone quick, especially with a team like that. You don't want to fall behind on them.'" - "Gonzalez attacks strike zone, allows one hit to get Nats back on track" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "[Gio] Gonzalez succeeded by — and this sounds so painfully obvious and simple — throwing strikes." - "Gio Gonzalez improves with aggressiveness" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "Washington has a good offense, maybe a very good one. Those hitters will hit, even if they hadn't done much of it lately." - "Gio's return to form bodes well for Nats" - Matthew Leach, nationals.com: News

• "Whether it was offense, pitching, or defense in the field: everything seemed to work out for the home team." - "Everything comes up Nats in win vs. Reds" - Chase Hughes, NatsInsider.com

• "[Wilson] Ramos ran the bases and took early batting practice on Thursday, and he is expected to catch in the minor league game on Friday..." - "Updates on the hamstrings of Wilson Ramos and Ryan Zimmerman" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Wilson Ramos will begin his rehab assignment on Friday, catching three innings for Class AA Harrisburg while it plays Bowie in a weekend series." - "Wilson Ramos to rehab with Harrisburg on Friday; Ryan Zimmerman running" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "No need for anyone to get Danny Espinosa any birthday gifts. He gave himself the best present he could ask for tonight." - "Nationals Pastime: Espinosa provides the gifts on his birthday" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The offense smacked 12 hits and, in the second inning, staked [Gio] Gonzalez to the team’s first lead in 38 innings." - "Washington Nationals rout Cincinnati Reds in breakout performance" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "'It was first-pitch strikes,' [Gio] Gonzalez said. 'That was basically it. You try to attack the strike zone quick, especially with a team like that. You don't want to fall behind on them.'" - "Gonzalez attacks strike zone, allows one hit to get Nats back on track" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Jordan Zimmermann will take the hill against Cincinnati's Homer Bailey on Friday looking to build on an inconsistent outing against the Mets in his last start." - "Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals - April 26, 2013" - Jesse Sanchez, MLB.com Preview

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

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "[Mike] Trout is faster than [Bryce] Harper. Harper, now 20, is younger than Trout, 21. Trout is better at chasing down balls in the outfield. Harper has the stronger arm. Trout was statistically superior in 2012." - "Mike Trout or Bryce Harper — which is better? As we near one-year anniversary of major league call-ups, the debate could rage 15-16 year" - Jon Morosi, FOX Sports on MSN

• "Nationals fans can look to Thursday's 8-1 win over the Reds -- Gio Gonzalez allowed just one hit in eight innings and Harper homered again -- and suddenly feel much better about their team." - "Nationals only .500 but no reason to worry" - David Schoenfield, SweetSpot Blog - ESPN

• "It’s fitting that [Bryce] Harper and [Gio] Gonzalez, who were two big reasons for the Nationals’ breakout 2012 season, would help key Thursday’s victory, as the team quickly returns to .500 and commemorates another year with the architect, Rizzo, at the helm." - "Gonzalez, Harper appropriately star on night Nationals extend Rizzo" - Joe Lemire, The Strike Zone - SI.com

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Hagerstown: "The Hagerstown Suns (11-10) split a double-header with the Augusta GreenJackets (13-7) on Thursday night, winning game one 4-0, and dropping game two 3-2." - "Suns split twin bill with GreenJackets" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News

Class-A Potomac: "The clubs exchanged solo home runs in the 1st frame as CF Michael Taylor launched his second round-tripper of the 2013 season..." - "Roberts Turns in Stellar Outing to Outduel P-Nats in Finale" - Potomac Nationals News

Class-A Potomac (ICYMI) Kevin Keyes' "Natural Act":

Triple-A Syracuse: "The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, lost a pair of games on Thursday afternoon to the Rochester Red Wings." - "Chiefs drop pair of games to Red Wings" - Syracuse Chiefs News

Triple-A Syracuse: "[Jeff] Kobernus is hitting .411 to start the season (20 games in makes it seem like that number is going to be pretty high this summer)." - "Chiefs lose two, officially, as Marrero taken out early" - Ben Meyers, The Auburn Citizen

• "Good, Bad, Interesting – Vol. 2" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

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

• NATSTOWN:

• "'This might be weird if it did work,' [Craig Stammen] laughed. 'It has no effect on anything that happens in a major league baseball season. But if it worked in times past, maybe it will work again.'" - "Nats players on sage burning, rubber chicken sacrifices" - Sarah Kogod, D.C. Sports Bog, Washington Post

• "Creative concessions have been one of the highlights of Nationals Park, home to the Washington Nationals in southeast Washington, D.C., since the ballpark first opened in 2008." - "Top New Food Spots to Try at Nationals Park in 2013" - Jake Emen, Yahoo! News

• "Gio Gonzalez got things started on the right note, and he never let up for the rest of his outing." - "Gio Spins A Gem, Nats Win 8-1" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "Seamheads.com & SABRmetrics expert says dump Taft, Let Teddy Win" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "Gio Gonzalez's collection of Nats starting rotation bobbleheads" - Nats Enquirer

• "Now we can get back to normal right? Assuming they don't happen to lose the next two or anything crazy like that." - "Mission Accomplished!" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "Stephen Strasburg had his workload managed for him last season, and he wasn't particularly thrilled about it." - "Stephen Strasburg is trying to pitch to contact but is not any more efficient" - Dave Cameron, MLB - ESPN

• "Whats eating Stephen Strasburg?" - Todd Boss, Nationals Arm Race

• "Of all the red-letter days in Washington’s baseball history, Nationals fans may well look back on April 28, 2012 as the most important date of all." - "Bryce is Nice… Happy Anniversary, Harper" - Marty Niland, D.C. Baseball History

• "[Gio] Gonzalez was, in a word, sublime. He spotted his two-seam fastball all night, keeping Reds hitters off-balance with a wicked curveball." - "Washington Nationals Game 22 Review: Gio’s gem helps Nats get on track against Reds" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "Shark Vs Reds" - Sharkadina

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Marlins: "Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria personally mandated the lineup card change that flip-flopped starting pitchers Jose Fernandez and Ricky Nolasco in a doubleheader Tuesday and left Marlins players furious with his continued meddling, three sources with knowledge of the situation told Yahoo! Sports." - "Sources: Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria personally mandated pitching lineup change" - Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports

Mets: "We’ll never know what Terry Collins’ prime motivation was Thursday for finally moving Lucas Duda, his leading home run man, into the cleanup spot..." - "Lucas Duda in cleanup spot could be best fit for NY Mets" - Bill Madden, NY Daily News

Braves: "Justin Upton leads the majors with 11 homers, including seven in two-strike counts. He also led the majors in OPS (1.200) before Thursday..." - "Series preview: Braves at Tigers" - David O'Brien, www.ajc.com

Phillies: "You can try to separate the offense from the defense from the pitching, but to do so is to ignore the subtle but crucial impact that each aspect of the game can have on the others." - "Things not falling into place for Phillies" - David Murphy, Philadelphia Daily News

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