Wire Taps: Nationals Drop Two To Tigers; Bryce Harper On Heart + More

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals' 20-year-old outfielder made a plea to his team from the manager on down to play with heart after the Detroit Tigers knocked the Nats around in the two-game set in Comerica Park. The Nationals stood pat at the deadline. NatsTown is a quiet place these days...

BREAKING NEWS: Nats Have Flying Computers: "It's like a lot of deadline days," Mike Rizzo explained on Wednesday's edition of "The Mike Rizzo Show" on 106.7 the FAN in D.C. when he was asked what the lead-up to the Non-Waiver Deadline was like for the Washington Nationals' GM. "You have your full front office staff in mode," the Nats' General Manager explained, "You have your scouts all over the country, wherever their coverage is, but accessible to their computers and to their phone at any time and there's just a lot of communication going on and computers are flying, we're having conference calls with scouts who have seen players and that type of thing."

The Nationals didn't make any moves, however. Which was not really a surprise since both Rizzo and Nationals' manager Davey Johnson had downplayed the possibility of a splashy move for weeks before yesterday's 4:00 pm EDT deadline arrived. Just as the deadline passed, the Nats wrapped up a two-game set with the Detroit Tigers with an 11-1 loss that left them four games under .500 at 52-56, 11 games out of first in the NL East behind Atlanta and 7.5 games out in the Wild Card Race behind St. Louis, Cincinnati and Arizona.

Asked for reasons for hope going forward with two months left in the 2013 campaign, Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s hosts Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier there were some reasons to remain positive.

"You've got a lot of big games coming up," Rizzo said, "You've got a team that's played better as of late. I think our offense is starting to come around, except for [when] you run into a pitcher like Anibal Sanchez who's pitched great against us in his days in Florida and now with Detroit. The offense is starting to click. I like where our starting rotation is. It's interesting to see the steps that Taylor Jordan has made and Ian Krol and some of those young guys and watching this team perform down the stretch is going to be something that I'm looking forward to and see if we can start clicking and get on a roll and do something great at the end of the season..."

It's not feeling like a season in which something "great" is coming at the end judging by the tone of most of the talk in NatsTown these days and the days of reveling in the spoiler's role are gone. The Nationals have a day off before they start a three-game weekend set with Milwaukee and then those "big games" coming up on the schedule start on Monday. Until then, links and lots of them. Starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!:

• "'We just need to be a family again,' [Bryce] Harper said. 'That’s the biggest thing. It all starts with having good camaraderie in the clubhouse.'" - "Bryce Harper wants Nationals to show ‘heart’ and ‘play like a family’" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "They were not looking to make a major deal because, despite having a 52-56 record, the team is confident it can win with the starting eight position players and pitching staff it has." - "Washington Nationals focus on talent they have at Trade Deadline" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Over the weekend, General Manager Mike Rizzo said he anticipated the Nationals would only try to tweak their bench, if anything." - "Nationals stand pat at the trade deadline" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "At age 20, Harper is the Nationals’ youngest, but most prominent, player." - "Spiraling Nationals 'got to have heart,' Bryce Harper pleads" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Bryce Harper may be the youngest guy in the Nationals' clubhouse, but that's not going to stop him from speaking his mind." - "Nationals Pastime: Harper: 'If we play like we're capable, we will win this'" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "After Gio Gonzalez submitted his worst start as a National, the offense fizzled again and another rock-bottom candidate surfaced, the 20-year-old spoke up." - "Nationals come undone in punishing loss to Detroit" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "Whether the Nationals collectively have been showing much heart or not in recent weeks is up for debate. The results on the field are not." - "Nationals trounced again, Harper speaks out" - Mark Zuckerman, Comcast SportsNet Washington

• "[Bryce] Harper said it starts by having good camaraderie in the clubhouse every day, and an upbeat manager no matter what happens on the field." - "Bryce Harper makes impassioned plea after latest Nationals loss" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Consistent closers are able to flip a switch after blown saves and record 1-2-3 innings their next time on the mound." - "Washington Nationals aren’t to blame for Drew Storen’s struggles" - Jason Reid, The Washington Post

• "[Bryce] Harper winced after taking a swing in the top of the seventh, prompting manager Davey Johnson and head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz to check on him." - "Injury updates on Ohlendorf, Harper" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "With two months left in the season, manager Davey Johnson is optimistic the Nationals can make a run at the postseason." - "Johnson remains confident in postseason chances" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "[Ross] Ohlendorf said he was just feeling a little stiff and not fully recovered from his start." - "Notes and quotes from a frustrated Nationals clubhouse" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Ross] Ohlendorf threw 114 pitches Friday night over seven innings in a victory over the Mets in the second game of a doubleheader." - "Ross Ohlendorf removed after throwing with low velocity, not injured" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Are the Nats frustrated with the way they've been unable to generate any type of consistently positive play?" - "Nationals Pastime: Hearing from LaRoche, Gonzalez and Suzuki" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "They have lost 14 of their last 20 games and were outscored 16-2 in their two-game series in Detroit." - "Washington Nationals at Milwaukee Brewers - August 2, 2013" - Tom Schad, MLB.com Preview

• "Only two pitchers in Nationals history have allowed 10 runs in a game: Jason Simontacchi (June 19, 2007) and Gio Gonzalez (today). Both starts came against the Tigers." - "Instant analysis: Tigers 11, Nats 1" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "I wasn't throwing very hard. Davey just decided to take me out. So I haven't quite recovered from the last start." - "Ohlendorf leaves game with tired arm" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "For the season LaRoche is hitting .232/.313/.405, and his .718 OPS ranks 24th out of 26 qualified major league first baseman." - "Adam LaRoche trying to pull out of slump" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "'I'm not the one to speak on it,' [Bryce] Harper said at one point. ' try to be a leader, but I'm younger.'" - "Nationals Pastime: Final notes and quotes from Detroit" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The offense was non-existent and Gio Gonzalez allowed 10 earned runs as they were pounded by the Tigers." - "Washington Nationals at Detroit Tigers - July 31, 2013" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "The Nats didn't go out and make any moves before the trade deadline today, just as Johnson had predicted." - "Nationals Pastime: Johnson discusses 11-1 blowout loss, plus Harper, Ohlendorf updates" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

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

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "'World Series or Bust' has become 'Let's Just Get Through the Season Without Killing Each Other.'" - "Deadline winners/losers: Orioles fly high, Rangers shoot blanks" - Scott Miller, CBSSports.com

• "There really wasn’t any deal out there that could have improved their lineup or rotation without giving up their top prospects..." - "Grading the GMs at the deadline" - Jim Bowden, ESPN

• "[Justin] Verlander struggled with his command at the start as the first three batters of the game reached base for the Nationals. But Verlander worked out of the jam while allowing just one run." - "Detroit Tigers rack up runs in 11-1 victory over Nationals, earn ninth win in past 10 games" - Chris Iott, MLive.com

• "Well, no one ever accused Harper of lacking confidence, that's for sure." - "Quote of the day: Bryce Harper says the NL East race isn't over yet" - CBSSports.com

• "Torii Hunter, for instance, contributed everything but a triple, but definitely had a triple in mind when he rounded second in the seventh inning..." - "Tigers hammer Nationals as change at shortstop looms" - Tom Gage, The Detroit News

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Auburn: Spinners 7 - Doubledays 0; Robert Orlan - 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 Ks - Auburn Doubledays Scoreboard

Class-A Hagerstown: "The Hagerstown Suns (23-16, 61-45) scored a pair of runs in the top of the 10th inning on Wednesday afternoon to knock off the Lakewood BlueClaws (18-21, 44-62) by a score of 4-2 at FirstEnergy Park." - "Hagerstown knocks off Lakewood in extras" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News

Double-A Harrisburg: "A.J. Cole shut down the Trenton Thunder over six innings of work and the Harrisburg Senators evened the series with a 5-3 victory at Arm & Hammer Park." - "Cole Brilliant, Sens Handle Trenton 5-3" - Marshall Kelner, Harrisburg Senators News

Double-A Harrisburg: "Much like right-hander Taylor Jordan did earlier this season, A.J. Cole has stepped right into Harrisburg’s rotation after a promotion from Single-A and looks like a worldly veteran." - "Ending the month on a high note; RHP A.J. Cole dazzles again: Senators game notebook" - Dave Sottile, PennLive.com

Triple-A Syracuse: "[Corey] Brown led off the third with a solo home run to right field against Louisville right-hander Daniel Corcino, increasing Syracuse's lead to 3-0." - "Maya, Chiefs split two with Bats" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "The rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nationals are off to a league-best 28-6 (.824) record in the East division this summer." - "GCL Nats dominating competition early in Florida" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

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

• NATSTOWN:

• "Davey: 'I don’t regret saying, ‘World Series or bust'" - Nats Enquirer

• "The Nationals were swept in a two-game series against the Tigers today in a 11-1 loss in the Motor City. Gio Gonzalez gave up 10 earned runs and 11 hits in just three and two-thirds innings on the way to the route." - "Nats Swept, Season Hangs In Balance" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "Mike Rizzo on Drew Storen: ‘I think we handled it perfectly’" - Sarah Kogod, D.C. Sports Bog

• "Remembering 1924 – Senators 7, Tigers 3" - Mark Hornbaker, D.C. Baseball History

• "Denard Span: ‘I view myself as a leadoff hitter’" - Dan Steinberg, D.C. Sports Bog

• "For a brief moment in time, it looked as though the Nationals would enjoy reprieve from the Justin Verlander of old during the last of their meetings with the Tigers this season." - "Washington Nationals Game 108 Review: Gonzalez allows 10 earned in Nats’ 11-1 loss to Tigers" - Alyssa Wolice, District Sports Page

• "So, I guess Bryce Harper has 'heart' maybe not much else" - William F. Yurasko, William World News

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "Before the game, [Sandy] Alderson explained that the Mets passed on making trade-deadline moves, mostly for outfielder Marlon Byrd, because he liked the way the team has been playing over the last month and a half." - "Jenrry Mejia battles through six innings, but Mets fall just short of Miami Marlins" - Kristie Ackert, NY Daily News

Phillies: "His expensive, underachieving team stretched a few yards away while [Ruben] Amaro provided scant answers to pressing queries about the future of this franchise." - "Standing pat, Amaro is vague about Phillies' future" - Matt Gelb, Philadelphia Inquirer

Marlins: "Henderson Alvarez dealt his third consecutive gem from the mound, and rookie center fielder Jake Marisnick smashed his first career home run en route to the Marlins’ 3-2 win over the Mets." - "Trade in 2012 gives Miami Marlins a payoff" - Rohan Nadkarni, MiamiHerald.com

Braves: "The Braves could still add a backup infielder and left-handed bat for the bench in a waiver deal in August to fill a void left from the season-ending shoulder injury to Ramiro Pena." - "Braves to address remaining needs in waiver period" - Carroll Rogers, www.ajc.com

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