Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Look For Third Straight Win To Start Season; Werewolves The New Zombies?

Patrick McDermott

The Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 3-0 on Wednesday and now they look to win all three games of the season-opening series with their NL East rivals. Jordan Zimmermann gets the start against the Fish and tries to keep the shutout streak Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez started going for another day...

Gio Gonzalez hit a home run and couldn't help but smile. Kurt Suzuki gunned down a runner, drawing oohs and aahs from a fanbase that's not used to seeing baserunners thrown out. Is Jayson Werth's "Werewolves of London" the new "Take on Me"? #ARRROOOOOOOOO. Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound this afternoon at 4:00 pm EST in the series finale with the Miami Marlins, but he's got a lot to live up to after the starts Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez put together in the first two games of the season. "The bar is set for Zim," Nats' skipper Davey Johnson told reporters after Wednesday night's win. The Nationals' starter were trying to one-up each other all last year. "There's always that competition on good pitching staffs, and I don't see this year being any different," Johnson said. Short of a perfect game or no-hitter, what can Jordan Zimmermann do? A game full of immaculate innings? We'll see. Game 3 at 4:00. Til then, links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "'Is this your last Opening Day in uniform?' I asked Johnson in his press conference before the Nationals opened their season against the Miami Marlins on Monday at Nationals Park." - "Is Davey Johnson really ready to walk away from the Nationals after this season?" - Thom Loverro, WashingtonExaminer.com

• NATS BEAT:

• "Nationals Manager Davey Johnson is adopting the split workload in the season in order to ease [Wilson] Ramos, 25, back into regular action..." - "Kurt Suzuki, hoping to stay sharp between starts, makes his season debut" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "Nationals manager Davey Johnson gave catcher Wilson Ramos the honor of starting Opening Day this week as a reward for his recovery from surgery on the ACL in his right knee last season." - "Suzuki gets his turn, plus other notes" - Chase Hughes, CSN Washington

• "Davey Johnson has said for months now that he feels he has two No. 1 catchers." - "Nationals Pastime: Suzuki, Ramos to alternate starts for now" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Kurt] Suzuki was Oakland's primary backstop from 2008 until last Aug. 3, when he was traded to Washington. With Ramos hurt, he played every day..." - "Catcher shuffle: Suzuki, Ramos swap starts" - Tom Schad and Andrew Simon, nationals.com: News

• "The moment yearned for a steal attempt – Pierre swiped 37 bases last year, and with two outs and no one else on base, he was 90 feet from scoring position." - "Kurt Suzuki’s ‘perfect strike’ a good sign for the Nationals" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "[Michael] Morse better keep going deep, though. He's got Gio Gonzalez right on his tail in the home run department." - "Nationals Pastime: Joining a pretty exclusive club" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "On a team with a lineup that requires few pinch-hitters and even fewer defensive replacements, the Nationals' bench players, Tracy, Steve Lombardozzi, Tyler Moore and Roger Bernadina, are faced with a difficult transition." - "Nationals' reserves must work to stay sharp as season begins" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Of [Gio] Gonzalez's 32 regular season starts last season, he failed to go at least six full innings only seven times. Then there were his two postseason starts..." - "Nationals Pastime: Johnson on where Gonzalez can improve, plus plans for bench guys" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "According to Washington's public relations staff, it's the 13th time since 1900 that a club hasn't allowed a run over its first two games." - "Marlins still without a run after 3-0 loss to Nats" - Howard Fendrich, AP/WTOP.com

• "Before Wednesday's game, manager Davey Johnson further clarified the roles and how the bullpen is shaping up as a whole." - "Clippard, Storen share living space and bullpen roles" - Tom Schad and Andrew Simon, nationals.com: News

• "It was a different Stephen Strasburg for the Nationals on Opening Day. Expect to see more of this version throughout 2013." - "New focus on efficiency pays off for Stephen Strasburg" - Brian McNally, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "On the bump, this hasn't been the sharpest we've seen Gonzalez, but on a bitterly cold night at Nats Park, Gonzalez has used a great curveball to help work through five scoreless innings." - "Nationals Pastime: Two games, two curtain calls (Nats win 3-0)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Though the end result was overwhelmingly positive, [Gio] Gonzalez was far from sharp through most of his season debut." - "Instant analysis: Nats 3, Marlins 0" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "New closer Rafael Soriano added a pinch of drama Wednesday, allowing a hit and walk to bring the tying run to the plate..." - "Nationals vs. Marlins: Gio Gonzalez blanks Miami for six innings as Washington earns 3-0 win" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "With high expectations, and a Nationals bullpen filled with so many good pitchers, will there be enough work to go around?" - "With talented bullpen, deciding who gets to pitch is 'good problem to have'" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "While he doesn’t know the specifics regarding the partnership between Roc Nation and CAA, [Ryan] Zimmerman believes Roc Nation could take CAA to another level." - "Nats’ Zimmerman intrigued by Cano, Jay Z, Van Wagenen" - Bill Ladson, All Nats All the Time

• "The Nationals are just the 13th team in major league history to open a season with back-to-back shutouts, and the first since the Arizona Diamondbacks did it in 2002." - "Gio Gonzalez tosses six scoreless, homers in Nationals win over Marlins" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "After blanking the Marlins in the first two games, the Nationals on Thursday will turn to Jordan Zimmermann for the series finale as they look to join the 1963 Cardinals as the only teams in Major League history to record three consecutive shutouts to start a season." - "Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals - April 4, 2013" - Paul Casella, MLB.com Preview

• "One of the biggest outs in the game came when [Gio] Gonzalez struck out Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton in the sixth inning, leaving the then-tying runner in scoring position." - "Nationals Pastime: Hearing from Gonzalez, Zimmerman and Span" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Infielder Chad Tracy and outfielder Roger Bernadina have more experience in bench roles." - "Johnson challenged to find work for bench players" - Tom Schad and Andrew Simon, nationals.com: News

• "As he warmed up for his first start of the season, Gio Gonzalez felt something he never before had on a baseball field: A massive headache." - "2-0 Nats becoming a headache for opponents" - Mark Zuckerman, CSN Washington

• "You could see the determination, focus and drive on the face of Storen these first few days during pregame warmups and you knew whenever his first game arrived it would be important for many reasons." - "Storen returns with scoreless frame, helps close book on last October" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "According to Elias, with the victory, the Nationals became the 13th team since 1900 to open a season with two straight shutout victories." - "Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals - April 3, 2013" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "The 1963 St. Louis Cardinals are the only other team in history to open a season with three straight shutouts, so the Nationals will turn their eyes toward Jordan Zimmermann on Thursday." - "Nationals pitchers open the season with 18 scoreless innings" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Through the first two games, Nationals Manager Davey Johnson has revealed a glimpse of how he plans to use a reconfigured bullpen and handle his relievers’ new roles." - "How Davey Johnson will use the reconfigured bullpen" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "While [RIck] Eckstein made it out unscathed with the exception of his uniform pants, starter Gio Gonzalez gave the Nationals a bit of a scare in the top of the first inning when he started putting pressure on his temple." - "Nationals Pastime: Johnson speaks after another Nats shutout" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Bryce] Harper went 1-for-2 on Wednesday against Marlins starter Kevin Slowey, whom he had never faced. He also doubled off reliever A.J. Ramos, who hit Harper in their only previous meeting." - "When it comes to pitchers, Harper a quick study" - Tom Schad and Andrew Simon, nationals.com: News

Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter:

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "Are you not entertained by left-hander Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals?" - "Gio Gonzalez: ‘I felt like I was making love to my hand’" - David Brown, Big League Stew - Yahoo! Sports

• "He came back out to the steps to give a quick wave as many in the crowd of 26,269 -- nearly 20,000 fewer than opening day -- chanted his name, sounding like 'Gee-oh! Gee-oh!'" - "Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals - Recap - April 03, 2013" AP/ESPN

• "INF Steve Lombardozzi, a key reserve infielder for the Nationals and a rookie last season, had one at-bat on Opening Day on Monday and was hitless as a pinch-hitter." - "Washington Nationals - PlayerWatch" - Reuters/chicagotribune.com

• "Fans by the thousands poured out of the Half Street SE Metro stop and down toward the ballpark." - "Sherwood's Notebook: An Opening Day to Remember" - Tom Sherwood, NBC4 Washington

• NATS MINORS:

• "2013 Watchlist Breakdown" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

Class-A Hagerstown: "Left-hander Bryan Harper of the Hagerstown Suns says that is all good, because his dream is to someday join his brother with the Nationals." - "Bryce Harper's older brother, Bryan, begins season tonight for Hagerstown" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

Triple-A Syracuse: "Finally, it has arrived." - "It is here: 2013 Syracuse Chiefs Season Preview Extravaganza" - Ben Meyers, Auburn Citizen

Triple-A Syracuse: "'I just go day by day. I just come out here and work hard and go day by day,' [Anthony] Rendon said at Spring Training sounding much more veteran than prospect." - "Third base gets third degree: Hot corner could be hotly debated in Washington Chain" - Ben Meyers, Auburn Citizen

• "Opening Day!" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• NATSTOWN:

• "Do we talk about the Davey thing? Or do we kind of just let that slide? It was kind of snuck in there right before Opening Day." - "Bryce and Strasburg Trackers" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "Gio Gonzalez threw six scoreless innings in this, his first start of 2013, but he was far from regular season form." - "Nationals Earn Win No. 2 With The Help Of Gio Gonzalez's Arm and Bat" - William Yoder, The Nats Blog

• "William Howard Taft is the newest racing president at Nationals Park, and two of his great-grandsons, John and Hugh, came to the ballpark to celebrate." - "Newest racing president's great-grandsons celebrate at Nats Park (PHOTOS)" - Michelle Basch, WTOP.com

• "[Bryce] Harper, who hit two home runs on Opening Day, visited the White House Tuesday evening for a reception and a screening of the movie ‘42’ with President Obama." - "Bryce Harper meets President Obama to screen movie '42'" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Gio Gonzalez (1-0) was the start of the show, tossing 6 shut out innings and smacking a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth to give the Nats a 1-0 lead they would not relinquish." - "Nats shutout the Marlins, again" - Mark Buterbaugh, DC Pro Sports Report

• "Gio on trying to get a grip in the cold: 'I felt like I was making love to my hand.'" - Nats Enquirer

• "After William Howard Taft tried to knock out the competition during his debut presidents race on opening day, George Washington decided to send a message." - "Video: Washington gets his revenge on WH Taft" Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "We're guessing the 'Awooooo!' parts will totally become the next great sing-along 'thing' at Nationals Park..." - "Video: Jayson Werth using 'Werewolves of London' as his walkup music" - Nats Enquirer

• "Jayson Werth using ‘Werewolves of London’ as walk-up music" - Dan Steinberg, D.C. Sports Bog

• "Shark ATTACKLE" - Sharkadina

• "Gio Gonzalez tossed six shutout innings in earning his first win of the season. He struck out five and allowed just two hits and two walks in his first appearance of the season." - "Washington Nationals Game 2 Review: Nats shut out Marlins for second game in a row" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "For the first 25 years of my life, Major League Baseball's opening day was a romanticized fantasy played out in my head." - "Nationals Buzz: My first opening day was well worth the wait" - Rachel Levitin, MASNSports.com

• "Cliff Notes: Opening Week Edition" - Nationals 101

• "Are we too worried about pitch counts?" - Todd Boss, Nationals Arm Race

• "Clark Griffith-Connie Mack foot race – why Nats fans should visit dcbaseballhistory.com daily" - William F. Yurasko, William World News

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Marlins: "Owner Jeffrey Loria declined to harbor a guess on Monday’s attendance for the Marlins’ home opener." - "WASHINGTON: Jeffrey Loria to Miami Marlins fans: ‘Give these guys a chance’" - Clark Spencer, MiamiHerald.com

Phillies: "On Wednesday night, [Roy] Halladay needed 95 pitches to get 10 outs, nine of which came on strikeouts. He also served up two home runs and was out of the game before the fourth inning was over." - "Roy Halladay’s struggles continue, gets hook in fourth inning of Phils’ loss" - Ryan Lawrence, Philadelphia Daily News

Braves: "There’s no (words) to explain it. I’m glad I got that one out of the way. Couldn’t have planned it. Just excited. Happy. Little emotional after the game." - Evan Gattis - "Braves quotes after Wednesday’s win against Phillies" - David O'Brien, www.ajc.com

Mets:

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