Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Try For Three-Straight With Stephen Strasburg On The Mound In D.C.

USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals beat the Colorado Rockies 5-1 on Thursday with a dominant performance by right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. Tonight in D.C., it's Stephen Strasburg on the mound against the visiting Rockies in the nation's capital as the Nats look for three straight...

Behind another strong start by Jordan Zimmermann the Washinigton Nationals cruised to a 5-1 win over the visiting Colorado Rockies Thursday night. The Nationals' offense also got a spark with Denard Span (2 for 3), Anthony Rendon (2 for 4) at the top of the order, Adam LaRoche (3 for 4) and Ian Desmond (1 for 4, HR) in the middle and Steve Lombardozzi (2 for 4) all contributing in the win. Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth, if you're looking for negatives, were 0 for 8 with 6 Ks between them, but Desmond's home run started the scoring, Kurt Suzuki drove in a run, LaRoche tripled in two and Zimmermann helped his own cause with a sac fly for the fifth run of the game.

Davey Johnson liked what he saw last night in the nation's capital, but he too noted Zimmerman and Werth's tough night in the post game press conference following the win. Johnson said he liked most of the team's approach at the plate, "Except for the middle of my lineup. My middle of the lineup had a chance to do some damage, they didn't, but they'll get going." Zimmerman struck out with runners on in each of his first two at bats. Werth K'd looking after Adam LaRoche singled to start the fourth. Zimmerman K'd swinging after Span and Rendon reached base to start the fifth, and Werth struck out again after LaRoche's two-run triple put the first baseman on third with one out. Not everything went right last night. But enough did...

Can the Nats do it again tonight? Three straight wins? We'll find out at 7:05 pm EDT. Until then, links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORIES!!!:

• "Last year, the National League’s all-star roster included three shortstops, including Desmond, who did not play in the game because of a strained oblique." - "Ian Desmond’s all-star case building steam with injuries" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Last year, the National League’s all-star roster included three shortstops, including Desmond, who did not play in the game because of a strained oblique." - "Ian Desmond’s all-star case building steam with injuries" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "Outstanding effort, indeed. [Jordan] Zimmermann went eight innings, allowing just six hits and an unearned run." - "Nationals Pastime: Johnson discusses Nats' 5-1 win" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Ian] Desmond, the Nationals’ most consistent offensive force this season, tore up the Rockies over their three-game series." - "Ian Desmond's star on the rise for Nationals" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Among National League starters, Zimmermann ranks third in innings pitched (107 2/3), fifth in ERA (2.26), second in WHIP (0.93), and first in complete games (3)." - "Zimmermann building All-Star case" - Michael Huberman, NatsInsider.com

• "'The last couple games they've given me 5-6 runs and tonight was one of those nights where I wasn't about to let this one slip away,' [Jordan] Zimmermann said." - "Nationals Pastime: Zimmermann on Zimmermann, plus other postgame quotes" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Jordan] Zimmermann pitched eight innings to win his 10th game, Adam LaRoche had three hits including a two-run triple and the Nationals spoiled Roy Oswalt's return to the majors..." - "Zimmermann wins 10th, Nats top Oswalt, Rockies 5-1" - Harvey Valentine, AP/WTOP.com

Davey Johnson on Jordan Zimmermann:


• "With every pitch, Jordan Zimmermann's message to Rockies hitters was the same: Here's a strike; hit it. And for the most part, they could not." - "Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals - June 20, 2013" - Tom Schad, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "The Nats scored five runs in the win, far more than they needed thanks to starter Jordan Zimmermann." - "Nats roll past Rockies in complete win" - Chase Hughes, Comcast SportsNet Washington

• "[Jordan] Zimmermann was cruising, pounding the strike zone and setting down the Rockies with relative ease." - "Nationals Pastime: Yet another gem from Zimmermann (Nats win 5-1)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Two Colorado Rockies occupied bases. [Jordan] Zimmermann kept shaking his head until Suzuki called for a change-up, the pitch Zimmermann incorporated into his repertoire only this spring." - "Nationals 5, Rockies 1: Jordan Zimmermann dominant as Washington beats Colorado" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "Over the years, though, while [Jordan] Zimmermann’s stoic nature has changed little, his game has evolved." - "Jordan Zimmermann dominates again as Nationals top Rockies, return to .500" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Jordan] Zimmermann put in another masterful performance in a long line of them this season. The Nats' right-hander went eight innings with six hits, nine strikeouts, and one walk." - "Instant Analysis: Nats 5, Rockies 1" - Chase Hughes, NatsInsider.com

• "[Adam] LaRoche's first chance to make a difference with his legs Thursday came in the fourth inning, when he singled and stood at second with two outs." - "LaRoche shows off speed to go with three hits" - Tom Schad and Andrew Simon, nationals.com: News

• "Not only is [Ian] Desmond getting it done offensively, he's now played 52 consecutive error-free games coming into tonight's contest." - "Nationals Pastime: Desmond does it again (Wheels LaRoche strikes again)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Stephen] Strasburg was limited to 82 pitches and five innings Sunday, his first game back from a stint on the disabled list, but will have no predetermined pitch count Friday." - "Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals - June 21, 2013" - Ian McCue, MLB.com Preview

• "Manager Davey Johnson sensed his veteran was scuffling a bit at the plate and gave [Adam LaRoche] Monday's game at Philadelphia off. He did have a pinch-hit at-bat in that game, but went 0-for-1." - "LaRoche hoping his hits, team offense will help 'spark something'" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "[Bryce] Harper said he is trying to be patient with his recovery as playing too hard and too soon helped aggravate the injury in late May." - "Harper on rehabbing his left knee" - Chase Hughes, NatsInsider.com

• Zuckerman talks to Harper:


• "The Nationals have avoided setting any kind of a firm timetable for Harper’s return as he continues to battle swelling and pain in his knee." - "Bryce Harper nearing a minor league rehab assignment" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

Champing vs Chomping Pt. 3: "'I talked to Bryce, he looked great,' [Davey] Johnson said. 'I think he's chomping at the bit. He's just gotta convince the medical staff that he's good to go.'" -"Nationals Pastime: Johnson: Harper 'close' to getting into rehab games" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Bryce] Harper has recently done some 'unauthorized running,' according to manager Davey Johnson, but he has not had any more swelling in his injured left knee." - "Harper pushes toward next phase of recovery" - Tom Schad and Andrew Simon, nationals.com: News

• "[Wilson] Ramos has been on the disabled list since May 16 with a hamstring injury. He had a setback last week running the bases but [Davey] Johnson said the catcher is making better progress this week." - "Injury updates for Wilson Ramos and Ryan Mattheus" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "The Nationals have missed [Wilson] Ramos’ presence for the better part of this season and last, which he missed after tearing the ACL and meniscus in his right knee." - "Injury updates: Wilson Ramos, Roger Bernadina, Chad Tracy and Ryan Mattheus" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter:

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "[Bryce] Harper got hurt, [Dan] Haren has been terrible, and pretty much every role player the Nationals were counting on has taken a step backwards. The result is that they currently sit at 36-36, six games back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East race." - "Why the Washington Nationals should trade Rafael Soriano" - Dave Cameron, ESPN

• "Manager Davey Johnson reported Thursday that Harper ran in the outfield and had no swelling in the knee after his workout." - "Washington Nationals - TeamReport" - Reuters/Chicago Tribune

• "The right-handed Zimmermann threw 25 strikes in his first 28 pitches, the ultimate 'here it is, try to hit it' statement. He worked eight innings, firing four straight fastballs to Michael Cuddyer for his final out." - "Roy Oswalt strikes out 11 in debut, but Rockies fall 5-1 to Nationals" - Troy E. Renck, The Denver Post

• "Here we have an un-sideburned Nats fan dutifully continuing the Nats-fans-reading-stuff-at-a-baseball-game trend for which they have become world famous." - "Your Nats-Fan-Reading-At-The-Game Update" - Sean Newell, Deadspin

• "With one exception, an 83-MPH waist-high changeup that Washington shortstop Ian Desmond crushed into the left-field stands, [Roy] Oswalt looked similar to his old self until encountering trouble in the fifth inning." - "Roy Oswalt's Rockies debut (mostly) a success vs. Nats" - Matt Slovin, USA TODAY Sports

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Short Season Auburn: "The Doubledays (2-2) dropped a close one 7-5 against the State College Spikes (3-1) in the series opener at Falcon Park." - "Auburn Comes Up Short to Spikes" - Auburn Doubledays News

• "At 6-foot, 175 pounds, Wilmer Difo doesn't look like the prototypical power-hitter." - "Doubledays Postgame: Difo hits first Auburn home run of the season" - Jeremy Houghtaling, Auburn Citizen

Class-A Hagerstown: Suns 14, Drive 1: Brett Mooneyham - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks - Hagerstown Suns Scoreboard

VIDEO Class-A Hagerstown - Estarlin Martinez HR:


Double-A Harrisburg: "Steven Souza, Jr. hit a solo homer, but the Senators fell 5-3 to the Bowie Baysox in the series finale, missing a chance to sweep." - "Souza Homers in 5-3 Loss to Bowie" - Marshall Kelner, Harrisburg Senators News

• "Steven Souza Jr. paced Thursday's effort by going 3-for-4 with a double, his seventh home run and his 10th stolen base." - "Henry Urrutia helps Bowie avoid sweep as Harrisburg Senators drop road trip finale" - Geoff Morrow, PennLive.com

Double-A Harrisburg: "Harrisburg pitching coach Paul Menhart referred to [Taylor] Jordan's biggest attributes as 'his ability to slow the game down.'" - "Harrisburg's Taylor Jordan displays mental toughness during current win streak" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

Double-A Harrisburg: "[Taylor] Jordan was ninth-round pick the Nationals plucked out of Brevard Community College in 2009, and he seemed to be coming into his own as a 22-year-old with Single A Hagerstown in 2011." - "Prospect watch: Taylor Jordan opening eyes with splendid Double-A season" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

Triple-A Syracuse: "[Zach] Walters made sure the lead wouldn't last long. With two outs and the bases clear in the top of the second inning, Syracuse's shortstop blasted a solo home run to center field off of Knights right-hander Zach Stewart." - "Chiefs fall to Knights in series finale" - Syracuse Chiefs News

Triple-A Syracuse: "Zach Walters stayed hot and the Syracuse Chiefs did not. Walters hit home run No. 16 on the season, but the Chiefs lost to the Charlotte Knights, 5-3, on Thursday." - "Walters stays hot, the Chiefs lose again" - Ben Meyers, Auburn Citizen

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

• NATSTOWN:

• "Jordan Zimmermann is used to flying under the radar, and prefers avoiding the hype that comes with having a name that is easily recognized." - "Zimmermann Shows His Star Power In Nats’ Win Over Rockies" - Erin Flynn, The Nats Blog

• "Teddy Roosevelt, the Washington Nationals presidents race, and the fan experience at Nationals Park (by Presidents Race Fan)." - "Video: George shines, Teddy struggles with Standard Obstacle Course on Army Day at Nationals Park" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "I just want to reiterate, after reading comments and even columns that seem to suggest otherwise, that Danny Espinosa is not a terrible baseball player." - "They'll win tonight too" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Braves: "One of the longest series in recent memory ended with a thud Thursday night for the Braves..." - "Wright homers twice as Mets beat Braves" - David O'Brien, www.ajc.com

Mets: "The Atlanta Braves looked foolish against Matt Harvey on Tuesday. But Atlanta TV announcer Joe Simpson looked even worse." - "Braves announcer hopes Mets pitcher Matt Harvey strains his oblique" - NY Daily News

Phillies: "In the last 2 weeks, the Phillies have been as schizophrenic as ever." - "Rollins remains upbeat about Phillies' chances" - Ryan Lawrence, Philadelphia Daily News

Marlins: "The Giants have won the World Series two of the past three years. But the lowly Marlins have been beating them silly at AT&T Park." - "SAN FRANCISCO: Tom Koehler, Marcell Ozuna lead Miami Marlins victory against Giants" - Clark Spencer, MiamiHerald.com

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