Wire Taps: Washington Nationals' Manager Davey Johnson Trying Option No.1 To Shake Things Up

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson said last night he might try a few new guys in the lineup after the second loss in a row to Atlanta in Turner Field and the fifth straight to start the season against the Braves. Move No.1: Insert No.1 into the lineup...

Last night's loss to the Atlanta Braves was the fifth-straight (regardless of what you might have read here before last night's postgame blurb was edited) and their ninth-straight overall to the divisional rivals from Atlanta (checks schedule from last year, ok that part is right). It dropped the defending NL East Champs to 13-14 after 27 games this season. It was the Nats' third-straight loss overall and their sixth in their last nine, seventh of the last ten. Any way you break it down it's been a rough stretch and Davey Johnson ended the night last night promising changes. "Try some different guys tomorrow," Johnson said when asked what he could do to get things going in a different direction.

The audio from Johnson's weekly appearance on 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s The Sports Junkies this morning isn't available yet, but the Junkies' fellow 106.7 the FAN host Holden Kushner was listening and Tweeted the following updates from the show this morning:

Asked about Davey Johnson's decision to sit Espinosa on this week's edition of The Mike Rizzo Show with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Mr. Kushner and co-host Danny Rouhier, the Nats' GM said he agreed with Johnson's decision to sit Espinosa and give Lombardozzi some at bats. "[Espinosa] is in a little bit of a slump right now and kind of in-between pitches,' Rizzo said, "You know, looking for a fastball, getting a curve. Sitting on a curve and taking a fastball. So it's a good move by Davey just to mix things up and give guys a rest in Danny's case and allow some consistent at bats for [Lombardozzi]."

Danny Espinosa's 0 for 8 with five Ks in the first two games in Atlanta and on the year he's got a .173/.212/.333 line with seven doubles and two home runs in 23 games and 85 plate appearances. Is Espinosa the cause of the Nats' current woes? Not the only one, but his struggles aren't helping either. The Nationals have been missing Ryan Zimmerman (who wasn't exactly tearing things up before his hamstring injury). Adam LaRoche is off to (don't say "his usual slow starts"...) a slow start. The starting pitchers, (like Gio Gonzalez in his start last night), have been inconsistent. Can the usually consistent Jordan Zimmermann turn things around? Will Anthony Rendon be in the lineup against a lefty? (Paul Maholm, who threw 7.2 scorless against Washington last time he faced them?) We'll find out later tonight, but the one thing we do know is that Davey's going with local folk hero Steve "#LomboLobby" Lombardozzi in the third of three in Turner Field. Can the Nats finally beat the Braves? They've lost five-straight at Turner Field too... We'll find out tonight at 7:10 pm EST.

Until then it's links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!!: (with Davey Johnson's connection to the Braves' Tim Hudson and his 200th career win.):

• via Twitter:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "Right now, there is no concrete reason to think [Stephen] Strasburg isn’t healthy." - "Stephen Strasburg’s healthy, so why is everyone so worried?" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "A day later, whatever concern or panic there was over Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg appeared to have subsided within the visitors’ clubhouse at Turner Field." - "Stephen Strasburg healthy, on track to start Saturday" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Steve] McCatty passionately defended Strasburg this afternoon, saying that the expectations that media members and fans have placed on Strasburg have reached unfair levels, with it getting to the point that Strasburg almost is in a no-win situation." - "Nationals Pastime: McCatty defends Strasburg; talks mechanics, unrealistic expectations" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Davey] Johnson said the Nationals do not expect Strasburg to have continued problems with the irritated nerve but it was too early to determine whether Strasburg will make his next scheduled start Saturday at Pittsburgh." - "Johnson: Strasburg may have irritated nerve in arm" - Charles Odum, AP/WTOP.com

• "It turns out that the problem for [Stephen] Strasburg, who admitted having difficulty getting comfortable, had more to do with his pregame treatment, courtesy of an electrical impulse machine, than any previous injury." - "Stephen Strasburg's arm irritation won't cost him a start" - Jon Cooper, nationals.com: News

• "Whether or not they felt like dissecting their third straight loss in public, the Nationals were perhaps preparing to discuss it in private..." - "Nationals' frustrating April ends with a thud" - Mark Zuckerman, Comcast SportsNet Washington

• "Now for the good news, about the best thing the 13-14 Nationals could hear in the middle of another three-game losing streak: Jordan Zimmermann is pitching tonight." - "Jordan Zimmermann to the rescue" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Their latest loss, an 8-1 thrashing at the hands of Tim Hudson and an Atlanta offense that brutalized his pitchers yet again, left Johnson without many answers." - "Nationals fall again to Braves as 13-14 April comes to a close" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Tuesday's loss was the third straight for the Nationals, their ninth straight to the Braves dating back to last season, and the fifth straight at Atlanta's home ballpark." - "Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves - April 30, 2013" - Jon Cooper, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "It's taken [Gio] Gonzalez 95 pitches to get through those four innings, and Davey Johnson will likely have to go to his bullpen to start the fifth." - "Nationals Pastime: An incredibly bizarre outing for Gio Gonzalez (Nats lose 8-1)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Hitting lowlight: Take your pick in this department, but let's point out the lowest of the lows on a night full of lows: The bottom of the seventh inning." - "Instant analysis: Braves 8, Nats 1" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "For the fifth time this season, Davey Johnson met with reporters following a loss to the Braves. 'Do we have to talk about this one?' Johnson said with a smirk on his face." - "Nationals Pastime: Johnson discusses another loss to Braves" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The offense was no-hit by Atlanta starter Tim Hudson for four innings. The bullpen was taxed again. The defeat left the Nationals at 13-14..." - "Atlanta Braves 8, Washington Nationals 1: Gio Gonzalez struggles in loss" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "'Last I checked we're still in April, right?' [Gio] Gonzalez said. 'It's a long season, man. I'm not going to stress it. I know these guys are not going to stress it.'" - "Gonzalez, Nationals can't keep Hudson from No. 200" - Charles Odom, WTOP.com

• "The Braves have recovered from a 2-7 stretch to take the first two in the series, while the Nationals have lost seven of 10 and 12 of 18." - "Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves - May 1, 2013" - Andrew Simon, MLB.com Preview

• "A disappointing April for the Nationals is now over, and not a moment too soon for a club that just wants to get itself on track and forget about the erratic month of baseball it just played." - "How the Nats ranked in April" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

•"[Jayson] Werth said he couldn’t get it fully loose before the game, then the hamstring tightened up during the 3-2 loss." - "Jayson Werth out with sore ankle, hamstring; hopes to return Wednesday" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "So why is their play slacking? Why the 0-5 record against the Braves? What can't this team do what needs to be done right now?" - "Nationals Pastime: Nats at a bit of a loss when trying to explain rocky start" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The spirit was willing for Jayson Werth, but his left ankle and right hamstring were not." - "Hamstring, ankle keep Werth out of lineup" - Jon Cooper, nationals.com: News

• "[Tim] Hudson was a dual threat in his milestone win, dominating on the mound over seven innings and hitting a homer and a double..." - "Hudson homers in 200th win as Braves beat Nats 8-1" - Charles Odum, AP/WTOP.com

• "Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was scratched from Tuesday's doubleheader for the high Single-A Potomac Nationals at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Va." - "Zimmerman scratched from lineup in Potomac rehab start" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Ryan Zimmerman’s first attempt at rehabbing his strained left hamstring fizzled because of inclement weather at Class A Potomac." - "Ryan Zimmerman scratched from first rehab appearance because of weather" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "[Ryan] Zimmerman may now play only one game or simply join the team in Pittsburgh on Friday. Either way is fine with manager Davey Johnson." - "Zimmerman's rehab game rained out" - Jon Cooper, nationals.com: News

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

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "'It was a fun game. Obviously it’s kind of surreal—nobody expects to go out there and hit a home run. It was a fun night all the way around.'" - Tim Hudson- "Braves quotes after Hudson’s 200th win (and homer)" - Michael Cunningham and Carroll Rogers, www.ajc.com

• "But, yesterday, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo announced that [Stephen] Strasburg would make his next start in Pittsburgh on Saturday." - "Roto Roundup: Prince Fielder, Edwin Encarnacion, Carlos Santana and Others" - Ray Guilfoyle, Fake Teams

• "[Tim] Hudson beat the Nationals 8-1 on Tuesday night to earn his 200th career win and did so in style, taking a no-hitter into the fifth while pitching seven brilliant innings..." - "Tim Hudson building Hall of Fame case" - Dave Schoenfeld, SweetSpot Blog - ESPN

• "The above photo depicts a flying baseball batted by Atlanta pitcher Tim Hudson. SPOILER: It hits Bryce Harper’s glove and becomes a home run." - "Bryce Harper homers for the wrong team" - Michael Katz, For The Win

• "Braves pitcher Tim Hudson came into tonight's game against the Nationals with two career home runs." - "Tim Hudson Has More Home Runs Off Bryce Harper Than Vice Versa" - Timothy Burke, Deadspin

• "If the battle surrounding The Wave and its place at Nationals Park were a movie, we've got our big plot twist: A group of Washington Nationals offensive players, including Bryce Harper, have voiced support for fans doing The Wave." - "The Wave conflict in Washington at new heights after fans fight and Bryce Harper speaks out" - Mike Oz, Big League Stew - Yahoo! Sports

• "As we’re about to hit May, [Stephen] Strasburg’s 2013 season might have some question marks, and it has nothing to do with an innings limit this time." - "Stephen Strasburg Leaves Game with Forearm Tightness, Shrugs Off Injury Talk. Here We Go Again?" - Mike Cardillo, Big Lead Sports

• "'I just wish he would get to the point where he doesn't put so many high demands on himself,' [Davey] Johnson said. 'That he just goes out and has a little more fun.'" - Johnson on Stephen Strasburg - "Davey Johnson urges Stephen Strasburg to relax" - Ray Glier, USA TODAY Sports

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Potomac: "Washington Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman was expected to make a rehabilitation start in the first game of the doubleheader but was a late scratch due to the already wet grounds and threat of continued rainfall." - "P-Nats Sweep Twin Bill vs. Carolina with Shutout then Walk-Off Win" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: "Justin Bloxom homered and Caleb Clay held down a hot Rock Cats lineup to lead the Harrisburg Senators to a 6-2 win over New Britain." - "Bloxom Homers, Clay Shuts Down Rock Cats" - Marshall Kelner, Harrisburg Senators News

Triple-A Syracuse: "Durham (18-8) scored its early run against Syracuse right-hander Yunesky Maya with a trio of base runners in the first inning." - "Chiefs fall to Bulls in series finale" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "Monthly Check-in with Minor League Pitching Staffs" - Todd Boss, Nationals Arm Race

• "Last Night In Woodbridge" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• NATSTOWN:

• "Davey Johnson was opposing manager for Tim Hudson’s first, 200th win" - Sarah Kogod, D.C. Sports Bog

• "Video: Gio's diving catch of Andrelton Simmons' bunt..." - Nats Enquirer

• "Nats Game Logs on this Date" - Mark Hornbaker, D.C. Baseball History

• "The very same Gio Gonzalez (2-2) who one-hit the Cincinnati Reds just five days earlier unraveled in just four innings Tuesday night as the Washington Nationals (13-14) fell 8-1 to the Atlanta Braves (17-9) at Turner Field." - "Washington Nationals Game 27 Review: Gio inconsistent as Braves unravel Nats yet again" - Alyssa Wolice, District Sports Page

• "The most interesting thing related to the Nationals on television on Tuesday night certainly wasn't the game against the Braves, which the Nats lost 8-1." - "Nats Still Haven't Beaten The Braves" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "'I am pissed off, I am extremely pissed off,' [Terry] Collins said after the wild pitch finished off the Mets, who blew a ninth-inning lead to the lowly Marlins for a second straight night." - "Disastrous ninth inning has Terry Collins seething as NY Mets fall to Miami Marlins - NY Daily News

Phillies: "As his teammates showered and ate around him, Roy Halladay sat in the middle of the visiting clubhouse at Progressive Field and watched his failures. Only Halladay utilized one of the four laptops placed on a table. He studied for some 20 minutes." - "For Roy Halladay, learning the hard way" - Matt Gelb, Philadelphia Inquirer

Marlins: "'Maybe we caught a little break there at third, but it’s good to see a play go our way,' Marlins manager Mike Redmond said of a disputed call at third base in the ninth inning." - "Wild comeback win for Miami Marlins over New York Mets" - Clark Spencer, MiamiHerald.com

Braves: "Tim Hudson came up short his first two attempts at 200 wins, both on the road, but his third try Tuesday night at Turner Field played out like one long tribute to the many facets of Hudson’s game." - "Hudson wins 200th game, and homers too" - Carroll Rogers, www.ajc.com

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