Wire Taps: 3-0 Washington Nationals Head To Cincinnati For Three With The Reds

Thearon W. Henderson

The Washington Nationals are in Cincinnati tonight where Dan Haren will make his debut as a National in the first game of a three-game series with the Reds. Haren will oppose Homer Bailey on the mound as the defending NL East champions try to remain undefeated early in the 2013 season.

So... now that the first homestand is over... How did you feel about the Nationals playing "Take on Me" before the bottom of the seventh? (ed. note - "You mean during the seventh inning stretch?" "Yes, that's what I meant.") I half-expected a picture or maybe a slow motion movie with slow-transitioning pics with the Ken Burns' effect applied on the scoreboard in center field while it played. Fans sang along, but there was a tinge of sadness for some. Meanwhile, out in Oakland, where the Seattle Mariners opened the season with the A's, Michael Morse hit four home runs in his first four games, following up on another big Spring in which the right-handed hitting slugger hit nine HRs in 20 games. Not a bad start for the 31-year-old former National in a contract year. Was Davey Johnson watching? "Yeah, I watched him last night," the Nats' 70-year-old skipper said on Thursday morning, "He's modified that little Sadaharu Oh move. He's modified [that], got some new little kinks in it, he looked good."

Asked again about losing the power Morse provided and adding a leadoff man like Denard Span, Johnson said, "I think there's plenty of potential long balls in the lineup. But the big thing is a lot of the young guys are becoming better hitters and I'd much rather have a better hitter than the long ball. You do more damage when you're a quality hitter, get on base and keep the line moving. And Denard Span has done that his whole career. And we were very successful having Jayson [Werth] do that. He got on base a lot, took a lot of pitches. Denard does the same thing. But, I don't worry about the long ball, there's plenty of power in the lineup we've got and I'm sure it will probably be showing up sometime soon, when it warms up."

What's the weather like in Cincinnati? We'll find out tonight. Until then, it's links and lots of them... Starting RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "In order to implement the system, [Mike] Rizzo said all of the Nationals scouts will be given iPads. As of now, Washington’s entire major league scouting staff have team-issued iPads, as well as amateur crosscheckers..." - "Nationals team with Bloomberg Sports for new analytic player evaluation system" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "The dichotomy between what the Marlins brought to Nationals Parkthis week and what the Nationals will face this weekend in Cincinnati is stark." - "Nationals' season off to a clean start with sweep of Marlins" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "VIDEO: Who is the Nats' setup man?" - NatsInsider.com

• "[Davey] Johnson said [Jayson] Werth felt like the wrist was pretty weak coming into spring training but that it's gaining strength lately." - "Nationals Pastime: Werth goes deep as Nats break it open (Nats sweep Marlins)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "That shot, off a 93-mph fastball from lefty Mike Dunn, provided a possible answer to the big question hanging over [Jayson] Werth this season." - "Werth's return to power a work in progress" - Andrew Simon, nationals.com: News

• "For now, though, [Jayson] Werth is confident in how the wrist is holding up. He has gone back to his standard bat, an ounce-and-a-half heavier than the model he used at the end of last year." - "Jayson Werth feeling confident in left wrist" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "All good teams, regardless of sport, have to beat up the little guys when they get the chance." - "Nats open season with sweep of Marlins" - Chase Hughes, NatsInsider.com

• "[Ryan] Zimmerman generally plays the position a bit more shallow than many third basemen to begin with, in order to allow himself the ability to still charge swinging bunts and similar balls in the infield." - "Ryan Zimmerman's improved shoulder health allows him to play deeper at third" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Jordan Zimmermann got the win today, going six innings allowing just one run. Zimmermann allowed eight hits on the day, but was able to get timely outs and dance out of a couple jams." - "Nationals Pastime: Johnson on Marlins: 'It was good to spank them this series'" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Chris] Young originally signed a Minor League contract with Washington on Feb. 21, before allowing four earned runs in 16 innings during the Grapefruit League season." - "Righty Chris Young returns to Nationals on Minors deal" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Manager Davey Johnson indicated [Chris] Young would be the first person to be called upon if the Nats need an emergency starter." - "Nats blog: RHP Chris Young rejoins Nationals" - Craig Heist, WTOP.com

• "What makes the Nationals a World Series contender?" [Jim] Duquette " "The depth of the team is huge. This is a team with a great starting rotation led by Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez." - "Duquette says Nationals can contend for years" - Jim Williams, WashingtonExaminer.com

""General manager Mike Rizzo expressed excitement about the new system, which will combine scouting data, video and statistics. Rizzo described it as, "like our current database, microwaved." - "Nats beef up player evaluation system" - Andrew Simon, nationals.com: News

• "Manager Davey Johnson said if a hit can alleviate thoughts of an early season problem, even for one game, [Jayson] Werth's mammoth blast was the answer, and it put the game away." - "Werth's mammoth blast early signal wrist might be just fine" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "[Michael] Morse was a poor left fielder, perhaps an adequate first baseman and a fine slugger. The Nats went in the diametrically opposite direction..." - "The Nats’ defense does not rest in opening sweep of Marlins" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "Bryce Harper showed no ill-effects from a first-inning collision with Marlins catcher Rob Brantly, despite taking an elbow to the right side of his chin as he scored the Nationals’ second run of the day." - "Bryce Harper OK after taking an elbow to head in home plate collision" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Jayson] Werth talked this spring about how he hoped he'd get full strength back in his surgically repaired left wrist, though it hadn't come all the way back yet." - "Instant analysis: Nats 6, Marlins 1" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "The lone run the Nationals allowed during this series came when [Jordan] Zimmermann got ambushed by Justin Ruggiano on a first-pitch fastball leading off the second inning." - "Nationals Pastime: Zimmermann and Harper discuss Nats' 6-1 win" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'The window's definitely open for us right now, and hopefully it'll stay open for a long time,' [Jayson] Werth said. 'But you've got to jump through that window at some point.'" - "Nats beat Marlins 6-1 for 3-game sweep; Reds next" - Howard Fendrich, AP/WTOP.com

• "[Homer] Bailey has made only two career starts against the Nationals and has limited experience against their hitters, so he planned to break down film to get acquainted with their loaded lineup..." - "Washington Nationals at Cincinnati Reds - April 5, 2013" - Adam Berry, MLB.com Preview

• "Another positive for Washington was reliever Henry Rodriguez's work in the seventh. He retired the side in order with one strikeout." - "Nationals complete sweep of Marlins" - John Keim, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "If not for Justin Ruggiano’s home run off Jordan Zimmermann leading off the second inning yesterday, the Marlins would’ve limped to New York with 27 zeroes to their (dis)credit." - "Washington Nationals Open 2013 Season With A Bang" - David Elfin, CBS DC

• "Cincinnati perhaps doesn't get the credit and attention it deserves, but make no mistake, this is one of the very best teams in baseball entering the season." - "Tougher challenge ahead" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "The Nationals’ opening month of the season is surprisingly packed with top competition, that is, if you subtract the six more game against the Miami Marlins and New York Mets." - "Now the Nationals face a stiffer challenge: the Reds" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "[Justin Ruggiano] swings first pitch all the time. I figured if I could throw a fastball down and away and get him to roll over it, I could get a weak fly ball,' [Jordan] Zimmermann said." - "Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals - April 4, 2013" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "Relievers Henry Rodriguez, Tyler Clippard and Craig Stammen finished up, and Washington’s bullpen has six shutout innings so far." - "Zimmerman Helps Nats Beat Marlins For Sweep" - Dan Morrison, CBS DC

• "Bryce Harper was fine following a first-inning collision on Thursday with Marlins catcher Rob Brantly after he he slid into home plate in the first inning." - "Bryce Harper fine after collision at home plate" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "The Reds, who the Nationals played in April and May last year, ended the regular season falling one short of the Nationals 98-win total..." - "Nationals face tough test in three games vs. Cincinnati Reds" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "The Nats are the only undefeated team left in the majors after their three-game sweep over the Marlins." - "Nationals Pastime: The DH debate" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Nationals manager Davey Johnson didn't hesitate to turn to right-hander Henry Rodriguez against the top of the Marlins' lineup on Thursday..." - "Reliever Rodriguez sharp in season debut" - Andrew Simon, nationals.com: News

• "Now that the Nationals have picked the Marlins’ bones clean at their park, the truer test will come over the weekend." - "Nationals vs. Marlins: Washington wins, 6-1, to complete sweep" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "In the outfield, [Davey] Johnson likes the combination of Bryce Harper, Denard Span and Jayson Werth because they can all cover a lot of ground and do it quickly." - "Johnson sees Zimmerman's defense improving with repaired shoulder" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

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

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "The team's 98 win season last year was no fluke." - "Will the Washington Nationals Be the Next Baseball Dynasty?" - Ben Berkon, The Huffington Post

• "The Washington Nationals, powered by Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper, remained undefeated on Thursday, beating the Miami Marlins 6-1." - "The Juice: Blue Jays knock five homers en route to first win; Nationals stay undefeated" - Mike Oz, Big League Stew - Yahoo! Sports

• "At least Miami finally scored, ending a 19-inning run drought in the second Thursday on Justin Ruggiano's first-pitch homer to right off [Jordan] Zimmermann." - "Jordan Zimmermann pitches Nationals to sweep of Marlins" - AP/USA TODAY Sports

• "Behind another stellar starting pitching outing and two more hits from wunderkind Bryce Harper, the Nationals topped the Marlins 6-1 at Nationals Park." - "Washington Nationals complete three-game sweep over Miami Marlins" - Juan C. Rodriguez, South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

• "Jayson Werth padded the margin with a three-run homer in the seventh and Bryce Harper collected two hits for the third consecutive game." - "Washington Nationals top Miami Marlins, 6-1 - Sports" - AP/The Boston Globe

• "On Opening Day Monday afternoon, the largest crowd ever to turn out for a regular season game at Nationals Park cast away the political gloom that has gripped much of official Washington so far this year." - "Nationals redeem dysfunctional Washington" - Jules Witcover, baltimoresun.com

• NATS Minors:

Class-A Hagerstown: "The Hagerstown Suns (0-1) fell in their season opener to the Delmarva Shorebirds (1-0), 4-3, despite out-hitting the Shorebirds and committing fewer errors." - "Suns lose opener to Delmarva 4-3" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News

Double-A Harrisburg: "Destin Hood singled with no outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth to drive in two runs, putting the Sens on top 4-3." - "Senators rally for 4-3 win over Bowie" - Harrisburg Senators News

Double-A Harrisburg: "With [Matt] Skole, the system’s 2012 player of the year, also available at third base, Manager Matthew LeCroy may well be able to play [Anthony] Rendon elsewhere in the infield." - "The Harrisburg Senators are packed with prospects" - Lacy Lusk, Washington Post

Triple-A Syracuse: "Syracuse (1-0) got going in the opening frame with a leadoff single from Eury Perez. The 22-year-old outfielder extended his Triple-A hitting streak to 18 games, having collected a hit in the final 17 games of 2012." - "Chiefs rout IronPigs on Opening Day" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "The Syracuse Chiefs hammered out 14 hits as they rolled in the season opener against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 11-2 on Thursday." - "Take that little piggies: Chiefs roll to season opening blowout" - Ben Meyers, The Auburn Citizen

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

• NATSTOWN:

• "The Nats are going to find stiffer competition this season in many corners, but they took care of business against a team that was gutted over the offseason of much of their Major League talent." - "Washington Nationals Game 3 Review: Nats sweep Fish and go 3-0 with 6-1 win" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "Game 3: Nationals Player of the Game" - Thomas Threlkeld, DC Pro Sports Report

• "Jordan Zimmermann earns first win of 2013 on Jordan Zimmermann Bobblehead Night in Harrisburg" - Nats Enquirer

• "[Bryce] Harper had a 2-for-4 day driving in a run. He is unreasonably locked in at the plate, and he can seem to do no wrong." - "Nats Bust Out The Brooms To Start The Season" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "Werth on Harper's home plate collision: 'The way he reacted, I thought he got shot. I wanted to make sure the little guy was all right'" - Nats Enquirer

• "While the Nats were beating up on the little sisters of the NL, the Reds took on potential AL powerhouse, the (add your own geographical joke here) Angels." - "Friday Free for All" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "'Collusion, I say!,' [Taft] tweeted after the race. 'Fine then, it appears that I need to find a partner before the next race.'" - "Video: Washington, Jefferson collude in Thursday’s presidents race" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "MASN compares Bryce Harper and Babe Ruth" - Dan Steinberg, D.C. Sports Bog

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Marlins: "On a day when the temperature was 47 degrees at the first pitch, Wade LeBlanc allowed three runs, two of them earned, in five innings — enough to give Miami a chance." - "Marlins finally score but lose third in row, falling 6-1 to..." - Joe Capozzi, www.palmbeachpost.com

Phillies: "And on the third day, a voice boomed down from the heavens, saying, 'Fear not, for I am with you!'" - "With Cliff on mound, just add runs" - David Murphy, Philadelphia Daily News

Mets: "[Dillon] Gee performed well in doing so, allowing just one run on three hits in 6.1 innings, but received no run support. The righthander and the Mets lost to San Diego, 2-1, at Citi Field." - "Dillon Gee gets no run support from NY Mets, who fall against San Diego Padres for first loss of season" - Andy Martino, NY Daily News

Braves: "Cliff [Lee] was darn good in a tough night to pitch, a tough night to play a baseball game because of the weather conditions." - "Braves quotes after Thursday’s loss to Phillies" - David O'Brien, www.ajc.com

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