Wire Taps: Washington Nationals' Jordan Zimmermann Battles Los Angeles At 10:00 PM EST

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

The Washington Nationals dropped two of three to the Chicago Cubs with Sunday's loss and now they head out on the road for a long trip through California which starts with tonight's game in LA. Jordan Zimmermann takes on Josh Beckett and the Dodgers at 10:05 pm EST tonight.

Still wondering why Davey Johnson lifted Gio Gonzalez after seven innings and 86 pitches in yesterday's game? He explained his decision to reporters after what ended up a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Johnson wanted to try to add to the 1-0 lead Gonzalez was protecting. The Nats' manager didn't want to have to go to a reliever in the middle of the inning if Gonzalez had struggled in the eighth. Here's how he explained his decision to reporters including the Washington Post's James Wagner after the loss:

"I don’t want him to lose the ballgame late in the game," Johnson said. "Just the way I manage. Chalk it up to me. You don’t like it? Chalk it up to me. Didn’t work out."

Gio Gonzalez wasn't about to question his manager's decision when he talked to reporters after the loss to the Cubs, in which he received no decision. "It's a tough situatiuon Davey was in," Gonzalez said. "Pitcher was up to bat in the eighth. 1-0 game. Just got to roll with the punches. Just one of the situations, just can't do nothing about it. But I feel like we have a great bullpen. They can definitely help us out all the time. And, you know, it's just baseball. You turn the page, move forward and get ready for the next series."

Speaking of which, Jordan Zimmermann's on the mound in LA tonight at 10:00 pm EST. Take a nap. Or read some links. Links and lots of them starting... RIGHT NOW!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "Jordan Zimmermann, the shining light of the Washington Nationals' rotation in April and May, is functionally equipped to go the distance." - "Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann is carving out an identity in Washington, D.C." - Jerry Crasnick, ESPN

via Mr. Crasnick On Twitter:

• NATS BEAT:

• "[Davey] Johnson lifted [Gio] Gonzalez after 86 pitches because he sensed an opportunity to tack on runs." - "Nationals vs. Cubs: Washington loses despite seven scoreless innings from Gio Gonzalez" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "When it was over, as the Nationals were left to digest dropping two of three in the series to the Cubs before boarding a cross-country flight, there were other frustrations to ponder." - "Frustration abounds as Nationals fall to Cubs late" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Davey] Johnson reiterated later in his press conference that while [Gio] Gonzalez had been pitching well, he has guys at the back end of his bullpen that he has a lot of faith in, as well." - "Nationals Pastime: Johnson discusses decision to pull Gonzalez after seven" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "There was a highlight, one of them: Ryan Zimmerman's RBI double off the right-field wall to score Denard Span in the bottom of the first." - "Instant analysis: Cubs 2, Nats 1" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "The loss left the Nationals with two straight after a five-game winning streak and dropped them to 20-17 as they head out on a 10-game West Coast road trip that starts Monday at Dodger Stadium." - "Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals - May 12, 2013" - Andrew Simon, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "[Kurt] Suzuki argued vehemently after the strikeout and was ejected for what he said was the first time in his career." - "Suzuki on rough ninth-inning throwing error and subsequent ejection" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Throughout the game, Nationals hitters were clearly upset with calls on the outer edge of the plate." - "Kurt Suzuki ejected for the first time in career; strike zone disputed" - James Wagner, Washington Post


• "[Kurt] Suzuki argued vehemently after the strikeout and was ejected for what he said was the first time in his career." - "Suzuki on rough ninth-inning throwing error and subsequent ejection" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Early this season, Johnson has been learning the limits of his new closer." - "Rafael Soriano and his workload" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "Throw in an extraordinarily wide (and often inconsistent) strike zone from [John] Tumpane, a 30-year-old umpire among MLB's minor-league fill-ins during the course of the season, and the Nationals were left trying to explain how exactly they lost this game..." - "Emotional Nationals blow late lead to Cubs" - Mark Zuckerman, Comcast SportsNet Washington

• "The pitching matchup Monday will feature an established ace in Los Angeles' Josh Beckett and an emerging one in Washington's Jordan Zimmermann." - "Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers - May 13, 2013" - Joey Nowak, MLB.com Preview

• "[Zach] Duke openly admits he's still adjusting to the role of a long reliever after spending the bulk of his previous eight years in the big leagues as a starter." - "Nationals Pastime: Duke still adjusting to inconsistent workload" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'I'm not commanding the ball, working behind in the count, and then throwing the ball down the middle,' Duke said. 'That's what it all boils down to.'" - "Duke determined to improve on recent struggles" - Andrew Simon, nationals.com: News

• "The Nationals head to California for their sole West Coast swing of the season, in the midst of a stretch in which they play 20 games over the next 21 days." - "The Nationals head west" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "After going 3-2 on their brief homestand, the Nationals packed the bags and took off for the west coast, where they'll play 10 games in 10 days." - "Nationals Pastime: Looking for the offense to heat up out west" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "When Chad Tracy struck out to lead off the bottom of the seventh yesterday, Nationals pinch-hitters fell to 7-for-48 on the season, a .146 batting average." - "Bench struggles hurting Nats" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

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

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "Alfonso Soriano will always be at the center of that speculation with a shrug and a smile. He isn’t the same 40/40 guy who used that monster season with the Washington Nationals to get a $136 million megadeal." - "While sell-off talk builds, Soriano still believes in Cubs" - Patrick Mooney, CSN Chicago

• "[Jed] Hoyer interviewed for the general manager’s job here as part of a months-long process in 2009, becoming a finalist along with Chicago guy Mike Rizzo, the interim GM at the time, and Jerry Dipoto, who’s now the Los Angeles Angels GM." - "Cubs GM Hoyer lays out the Nationals blueprint" - Patrick Mooney, CSN Chicago

• via Twitter:

• "Dale Sveum called last year's sweep by the Nationals in Washington the 'worst butt-whipping' he had experienced as a player, coach or manager." - "Taking series from Washington Nationals shows Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum something" - Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com

• "The Cubs won a series in Washington for the first time since 2010. They also picked up their second straight win and have won four of their past six." - "Rapid Reaction: Cubs 2, Nationals 1" - Todd Karpovich, ESPN Chicago

• "[Jordan] Zimmermann (6-1, 1.59 ERA) gets the ball looking to become the majors' first seven-game winner. He's given up just one run, 10 hits and three walks in 24 innings in winning his last three starts." - "Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers" - ESPN Los Angeles

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Potomac: "1B Kevin Keyes blasted a three-run home run off the left field foul pole in the 7th inning to give Potomac a 7-1." - "P-Nats Sweep De Facto Mother's Day Doubleheader" - Potomac Nationals News

• "Right-hander A.J. Cole has now allowed just one earned run in his last two starts following a no-decision Saturday with the high Single-A Potomac Nationals." - "Potomac's Cole using nice mix of pitches to get results" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

Double-A Harrisburg: "Taylor Jordan pitched four shutout innings in his Double-A debut and Anthony Rendon homered to lead the Senators to a 3-1 win over the Binghamton Mets in game one of a doubleheader..." - "Sens Split Twin Bill With B-Mets" - Marshall Kelner, Harrisburg Senators News

Triple-A Syracuse: "Norfolk (25-12) scored early and often in the contest. On the first pitch of the game, Jason Pridie launched a home run over the right-center field wall off of Chiefs starter Ryan Perry." - "Tides take down Chiefs on Sunday" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "Sunday Afternoon In Woodbridge" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• NATSTOWN:

• "During a six game stretch from May 12, 1968 to May 18, 1968 the 6’7″ tall and 270lbs, Frank Howard punished the opposing pitchers by hitting a Major League-record 10 home runs in a span of 20 at bats." - "Day One of Howard’s Home Run Streak" - Mark Hornbaker, D.C. Baseball History

• "For the second day in a row, the Washington Nationals (20-17) were reminded of why, in baseball, it all comes down to the fundamentals." - "Washington Nationals Game 37 Review: Suzuki’s error proves costly as Cubs top Nats 2-1" - Alyssa Wolice, District Sports Page

• "Video: Kurt Suzuki ejected for first time in his career" - Nats Enquirer

• "Just one day after William Howard Taft notched his first-ever presidents race victory, the pressure was on for rival Teddy Roosevelt to prove that last year’s season-ending win was no fluke." - "Video: Teddy Roosevelt claims his first victory of 2013 in Mother’s Day 'Dizzy Bat Race'" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "As for Teddy, he got his first season win on Sunday. There was no untucking, though. Apparently Teddy’s not down with that." - "Taft gets his first Presidents Race win, untucks (Video)" - Sarah Kogod, D.C. Sports Bog

• "A pitcher with [Stephen] Strasburg's talent should be able to escape a two-out, one-on situation unscathed. But talent is nothing without the temperament to back it up..." - "Nationals Buzz: Nats must learn to overcome their own failures - and success" - Marty Niland, MASNSports.com

• "George Mogridge complete game victory lead the Senators over the Tigers. The victory improves the Senators record to 11-12." - "Remembering 1924 – Senators 6, Tigers 3" - Mark Hornbaker, D.C. Baseball History

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "I am here to report Matt Harvey is human — which made for a doubly aggravating Mother’s Day experience for Met fans." - "Mets must start giving Matt Harvey more run support since he is team's most reliable pitcher" - Bill Madden, NY Daily News

Phillies: "A cursory glance at the Phillies’ individual walk rates might make you think it’s not so bad as six of 13 players (min. 30 PA) have a walk rate above the 8.1 percent National League average." - "Graph of the Intermittent Time Period" - Bill Baer, Crashburn Alley

Marlins: "If not for Adeiny Hechavarria's two-out, two-run single in the ninth Sunday, the Marlins would have been limited to zero or one run in five of their last six games." - "Miami Marlins close 10-game trip with 1-5 Southern California swing" - Juan C. Rodriguez, South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

Braves: "Now the Braves have dropped 15 of the past 24 games, including three consecutive ugly losses at San Francisco during a four-game series that ended with a 5-1 defeat Sunday at AT&T Park." - "Braves waste chances, Medlen loses again as Giants win series" - David O'Brien, www.ajc.com

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