Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Head To Atlanta Seeking Revenge On The Braves

Kevin C. Cox

The Washington Nationals head down to Atlanta to start a four-game set with the Braves who swept the Nats in three-straight in the nation's capital earlier this season. The NL East rivals go at it again at 7:10 pm EST tonight with Stephen Strasburg on the mound against the Braves' Julio Teheran.

The Washington Nationals flew to Atlanta last night in advance of their upcoming four-game set with the Braves. The last time the NL East rivals faced one another Los Bravos took three-straight for a road series sweep which started the six-game home losing streak for the Nats that ended when they took the first of four games from Cincinnati in the just-completed series with the Reds. Looking back on the Nats' homestand after Sunday's loss to Tony Cingrani and the Redlegs, Davey Johnson told reporters yesterday it was a mixed bag (my words not his). Here are his words about the 3-4 stand and the upcoming series:

"It's tough breaking in a new player in the lineup, and kind of [juggling] the lineup around," Johnson said, referring to the addition of top prospect Anthony Rendon with Ryan Zimmerman on the DL, "But I like the way the guys have been playing. We'll be fine."

Heading into play today the Braves hold a 2.5 game lead on the Nats in the NL East, but Hotlanta's on a cold streak [ed. note - "That's the kind of line that wins Pulitzers."] having lost four-straight to fall to 15-9 overall this season. The Nats' skipper said it's obviously a big series. "They're in front us," Johnson said, "They're playing awful good. [We] come down here, we've got the right matchups going. So, it should be a great series."

It starts with Stephen Strasburg vs Julio Teheran live from Turner Field at 7:10 pm EST. While you're impatiently waiting for the start of tonight's game. Links and lots of them, and they start... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!! (ICYMI Edition):

• "The Reds’ Joey Votto called me over to his locker on Friday. He had something he wanted to say. 'Bryce Harper is pretty good,' Votto said, smiling." - "Reds' Joey Votto says Nationals' Bryce Harper cannot fail - MLB News" - Ken Rosenthal, FOX Sports on MSN

• NATS BEAT:

• via Bryce Harper on Twitter (@BHarper3407):

• "VIDEO: Harper reflects on first year" - Chase Hughes, NatsInsider.com

• "If one talks to Harper about what he has accomplished at age 20, he'll tell you it's too early to discuss what he has done on the field." - "One year into his big league career, it's safe to say that Bryce Harper has lived up to the expectations" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "The Nats will send their Nos. 1-3 starters (Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann) to the mound this series, while the Braves will throw Julio Teheran, Tim Hudson and Paul Maholm, their Nos. 5, 1 and 2 starters." - "Nationals Pastime: Nats head to Atlanta in search of some revenge" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Davey] Johnson wants to split up set-up Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, allowing them each to work mostly on a one-day-on, one-day-off schedule." - "Davey Johnson still tweaking relief usage as the Nationals bullpen improves" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "For three days this weekend in Washington, bliss settled over Nationals Park." - "Nationals' bats silenced by Reds rookie as sweep try fall short" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Ross] Detwiler was pestered with singles all afternoon, but never gave up a big homer or a really big hit." - "Nats drop series finale to Reds" - Chase Hughes, NatsInsider.com

• "Ross Detwiler has allowed four runs and 10 hits over his first five innings. He had surrendered four earned runs on the season coming into today." - "Nationals Pastime: A much different picture in the series finale (Nats lose 5-2)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'[Tony Cingrani] was good,' said Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond, whose team fell to 13-12. 'I don't even know. Is he a rookie?'" - "Cingrani strikes out 4 in 1 inning for Reds" - AP/WTOP.com

• "Beneath an overcast sky at Nationals Park, Reds lefty Tony Cingrani overpowered the Nationals for six scoreless innings with his three-quarter delivery and sneaky, mid-90s fastball." - "Nationals vs. Reds: Ross Detwiler allows 11 hits over five innings as Washington falls in series finale" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "As a left-hander growing up in the Chicago suburbs, Tony Cingrani's idols were Cole Hamels and Johan Santana." - "Nationals swing and miss on sweep of Reds" - Kevin Dunleavy, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "Manager Davey Johnson thought about giving LaRoche the day off on Sunday, but LaRoche declined. He is picking everyone's brain on the team and see if they notice anything wrong when he is inside the batter's box." - "LaRoche at a loss concerning recent slump" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "[Adam] LaRoche appreciated [Davey] Johnson’s support as he remained frustrated, yet determined to snap out of the kind of slump he typically endures early in the season." - "Adam LaRoche will remain in the lineup, and Wilson Ramos is returning to it" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "And after going 0-for-4 in Sunday’s loss to the Reds, LaRoche is now on a 26 at-bat hitless streak with 13 strikeouts to boot." - "Losing patience, LaRoche keeps searching" - Chase Hughes, NatsInsider.com

• "Yeah, LaRoche is upset at himself for how he's been playing lately. He has 13 strikeouts in his last eight games and doesn't have a hit in more than a week." - "Nationals Pastime: LaRoche determined to claw his way out of deep slump" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Right now, pitchers are laughing at him. Maybe somewhere, a few deer in Kansas and points west are snickering, too." - "Boswell: Nationals’ Adam LaRoche struggling through his usual slow start at the plate" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "Ross Detwiler (1-2) allowed three earned runs in five innings. The Nationals' starter matched his career-high by surrendering 11 hits, including four infield singles." - "Slumping LaRoche, Nats whiff against Reds" - Benjamin Standig, WTOP.com

• "[Tony] Cingrani became the first Reds rookie to record 10 or more strikeouts since Johnny Cueto did so on July 22, 2008, against the Padres." - "Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals - April 28, 2013" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "Manager Davey Johnson has an early season philosophy of not riding his starters too long in games." - "Johnson has confidence in starters for the long haul" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "[Danny] Espinosa, fully aware of the momentum his comments gathered after the last Braves game, took stock of them on the eve of the teams’ rematch." - "The Nationals’ next crack at the now-reeling Braves starts tonight" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Hitting lowlight: It’s hard to single out one guy in the Nats order when everyone had so much trouble against [Tony] Cingrani." - "Instant Analysis: Reds 5, Nats 2" - Chase Hughes, NatsInsider.com

• "[Ross] Detwiler got a bit unlucky today, allowing four infield singles, but he also just lacked his good stuff." - "Nationals Pastime: Johnson recaps Nats' 5-2 loss" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The first time the Braves and Nationals met this season, from April 12-14 in Washington, Atlanta earned a three-game sweep. The Nationals, however, were not overly impressed." - "Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves - April 29, 2013" - Andrew Simon, MLB.com Preview

• WIRE TAPS HOLIDAY SPECIAL: It's Apparently National Mock Henry Rodriguez Day (Frances Farmer Henry Rodriguez Will Have Her His Revenge on Seattle the baseball press.) (ed. note - "Yes, that's a Nirvana reference."):


• via the WaPost's Adam Kilgore on Twitter:

via SBNation.com's Marc Normandin:

Rodriguez-bounce-pitch

• "Henry Rodriguez's control was so off on Sunday that he nearly hit himself with an errant pitch." - "Pitcher Henry Rodriguez nearly hits himself with own pitch" - Marc Normandin, SBNation.com

• "A frustrating 5-2 loss for the Nats on Sunday against the Reds, and Adam LaRoche continues to simply not hit. But Henry Rodriguez was like a little ray of comedic sunshine on an otherwise gray and gloomy day in Washington..." - "Video: Henry Rodriguez throws pitch to backstop, ball richochets off and almost hits him in the head" - Nats Enquirer

• "Henry Rodriguez has had a fair amount of pitches end up in this space, at least compared to his teammates. For instance, last week, when a pitch landed in the President’s Club after a fateful bounce. Or in August, when a wild pitch sent fans ducking for cover." - "Henry Rodriguez almost hits himself in the head with a pitch" - Sarah Kogod, D.C. Sports Bog

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

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "The Nationals are praying to their god-of-choice that Zimmerman will be able to return to the team on Friday after a couple of rehab appearances early this week." - "Roto Riteup: April 29, 2013" - Zach Sanders, FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball

• "The first time the Braves and Nationals met this season, from April 12-14 in Washington, Atlanta earned a three-game sweep. The Nationals, however, were not overly impressed." - "Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves - April 29, 2013" - Andrew Simon, MLB.com Preview

• "The super-hyped [Bryce] Harper might have gotten the early nod last year in bar-room debates over who was the superior player, but Trout soon raced ahead with his overall brilliance, including several stunning catches." - "Bryce Harper, Mike Trout one year later" - Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY Sports

• "The last Reds pitcher to strike out four in an inning was Frankie Rodriguez in 2001, per the Reds official Twitter. More specifically, it was on July 22." - "Tony Cingrani achieves rare four-strikeout inning" - Bill Baer, HardballTalk

• "A year ago today, the Washington Nationals called Bryce Harper up to the big leagues, so he officially has one full season of Major League Baseball under his belt." - "Bryce Harper’s First 162 Games" - Dave Cameron, FanGraphs Baseball

• "162 in the books: Saturday was game No. 162 in Bryce Harper's young career, and the 20-year-old phenom celebrated by launching his 31st homer (ninth this season) to pace Washington's 6-3 winner over the Reds." - "The Juice: Bryce Harper celebrates one full season with home run, Nationals victory" - Mark Townsend, Big League Stew - Yahoo! Sports

• "[Adam] LaRoche's average dropped down to .135 after he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Sunday when the Cincinnati Reds beat Washington, 5-2." - "Washington Nationals - TeamReport" - Reuters/Chicago Tribune

• "It's a timely coincidence that the end if Bryce Harper's first calendar year in the big leagues happened to line up perfectly with the end of his first baseball 'year' of sorts." - "Bryce Harper's first 162 MLB games" - Bill Parker, SBNation.com

• "[Tony] Cingrani is now one of five active pitchers who struck out 11 and didn't allow a run in one of the first six games of his career. The others? Mariano Rivera, Oliver Perez, Matt Harvey and Matt Moore." - "The Juice: Pirates off to best start since Bonds era; Tony Cingrani and Clayton Kershaw have big days" - Mike Oz, Big League Stew - Yahoo! Sports

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Hagerstown: "The Hagerstown Suns (13-11) used impressive pitching performances from starting RHP Ivan Pineyro (1-2) and RHP David Fischer to silence the bats of the Hickory Crawdads (14-10) and earn a 3-0 win on Sunday afternoon." - "Suns shutout Crawdads, strikeout 18" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News

• "Nationals pitching prospect Ivan Pineyro has always had above-average stuff. He may never have been the hardest thrower on his team, but he has consistently kept hitters off balance while dialing his fastball up in the low- to mid-90s." - "Pineyro fans a dozen to earn first win" - Ashley Marshall, MiLB.com News

Class-A Potomac: "Nationals RHP A.J. Cole, who did not receive a decision, pitched well allowing three earned runs over 6.0 innings in a quality start while throwing 99 pitches. Cole walked two and tied his season high with seven strikeouts." - "Furious Pelicans Rally Downs P-Nats 9-5 in Finale" - Potomac Nationals News

• "The time on the shelf has not inhibited [Ryan] Zimmerman’s throwing program as he returns from offseason surgery." - "Ryan Zimmerman to rehab Tuesday and Wednesday in Potomac" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "It’s unclear if [Wilson] Ramos will immediately return to an every-other-game rotation with Kurt Suzuki, and it’ll likely depend on how Ramos’ legs are feeling." - "Hamstring updates on Wilson Ramos and Ryan Zimmerman" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Before Sunday’s game, [Ryan] Zimmerman took batting practice and ran the bases. He hit several home runs at the plate and looked his normal self while running." - "Zimmerman to rehab with P-Nats this week" - Chase Hughes, Comcast SportsNet Washington

• "Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said he will have his rehab assignment with Class A Potomac this week." - "Zimmerman to make rehab trip to Potomac" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

Double-A Harrisburg: "[Blake] Treinen out-dueled Kevin Gausman, the number two prospect in the Baltimore Orioles organization, according to Baseball America." - "Treinen Spectacular as Sens Shutout Baysox 1-0" - Marshall Kelner, Harrisburg Senators News

• "The Washington Nationals will likely option top prospect Anthony Rendon back to the Harrisburg Senators when Ryan Zimmerman comes off the disabled list, according to the Nationals' official site." - "Top prospect Anthony Rendon will likely return to Harrisburg Senators this week" - Dustin Hockensmith, PennLive.com

Triple-A Syracuse: "With two outs and Will Rhymes at first base, first baseman Chris Marrero blasted an opposite-field double to right-center field off of former Chiefs teammate J.D. Martin." - "Bulls rally late in win over Chiefs" - Syracuse Chiefs News

Triple-A Syracuse: "The Durham Bulls broke open a 3-3 tie with a six-run seventh-inning rally, aided by a pair of Zach Walters throwing errors..." - "Big sixth inning propels Bulls past Chiefs" - Ben Meyers, The Auburn Citizen

• "Syracuse Chiefs starter Danny Rosenbaum is off to a great beginning for 2013. Fresh off his return to the Nationals from the Colorado Rockies, who plucked him in the Rule 5 draft, Rosenbaum is 2-1 with a 1.14 ERA in four starts." - "Rosenbaum's success could offer Nationals another spot start option" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Though still in Double-A, Brian Goodwin, the system’s number-two bat, leads the Harrisburg Senators in multiple stat categories including runs scored and stolen bases." - "Washington Nationals Minor League Update for the Week of 4/28/13" - Ryan Kelley, District Sports Page

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

• NATSTOWN:

• "When proud dad Charlie Hurt told one of the best pitchers in baseball about his 8-year-old son’s triumphant afternoon in Little League, Gio scrawled on a WHCA program: 'To: Henry … WOW First HR in kids pitch!! And More to come! Keep that smile & God Bless … Gio Gonzalez 47.'" - "POLITICO Playbook" - Mike Allen, POLITICO.com

• "When Jess Atkinson began tailing Bryce Harper during the very first days of his professional career, he quickly decided there was something grander than minor-league footage playing out in front of him: that there was a film to be made." - "Bryce Harper film to debut on ESPN" - Dan Steinberg, D.C. Sports Bog

• "Sunday afternoon the Harrisburg Senators played their final match in the three game series with Bowie and won by a score of 1 – 0. Fans were treated to a pitcher’s duel between Orioles pitching prospect Kevin Gausman and Blake Treinen with Blake getting the better of it." - "Treinen vs. Gausman" - Karen and Kevin Flynn, D.C. Baseball History

• "Video: Backwards presidents race fails to deliver for Abe or the Nats" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "[Anthony] Rendon had another opportunity on a Choo grounder, making a perfect throw to Danny Espinosa to start a double play, but Espinosa flat out dropped the ball and all runners were safe." - "Reds Avoid Four-Game Sweep, Nats Lose 5-2" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "The Nats did what they needed to vs the Reds. It didn't quite make up for the lousy start to the homestand so yes, it was another disappointing stand overall..." - "Monday Super Quickie" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "Bryce Harper and Justin Upton will face each other again starting on Monday, this time in Atlanta, and Harper hopes that his team has a much better result than the three-game sweep they were handed in DC just a couple weeks ago." - "Bryce Harper and Justin Upton: An Early Season Comparison" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "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." - "Nationals Buzz: For Harper, here's hoping best is yet to come" - Marty Niland, MASNSports.com

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Braves: "Mike Minor had allowed more than three runs just once since the end of June, and the Braves hoped for another strong outing from their now-steadiest starter Sunday, so they could finish a disappointing trip on a good note." - "Minor roughed up at Detroit, Braves swept to end 3-7 trip" - David O'Brien, www.ajc.com

Phillies: "Here's a question: If Carlos Ruiz ever becomes unpopular with fans, how will he know?" - "Phillies Notebook: Chooch is back!" - Sam Donnellon, Philadelphia Daily News

Mets: "The good news for the Mets was that Jonathon Niese seemed to be his old self on Sunday. The bad news was their bullpen seemed to be its old self as well." - "Bullpen blows it as Mets fall to Ryan Howard and Phillies, 5-1" - Sean Brennan, NY Daily News

Marlins: "When Giancarlo Stanton ends long home run droughts, he tends to get hot for an extended period." - "Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is displaying signs of long ball after drought" - Walter Villa, MiamiHerald.com

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