Wire Taps: Nationals And Giants Start Three-Game Set In D.C.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals look to keep their three-game win streak going in the first game of three with the visiting San Francisco Giants. Nats' skipper Davey Johnson talked to the Washington Post recently about what the future holds in the BIG STORY of the day...

Davey Johnson and I will have to disagree on this one. I know, he'll be crushed. But I actually agree with Davey Johnson, just the Davey of a few months ago, not the one facing a disappointing end to his career as a big league manager now. In Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore's article on the 70-year-old skipper today, which is the "BIG STORY", the Nats' manager says that he stays up at night sometimes wondering what he could have done differently. "'Maybe I was at fault saying, ‘World Series or bust,’ Johnson said. But that was how he felt back in December.'" And as he's explained since, he was just expressing what he knew everyone on the team felt. They'd taken a big step last year, made it to the postseason and were one strike away from the NLCS. The logical next step, in 2013, was a deep run into October.

And Davey Johnson wasn't the only one to say so. Did it add to the pressure? Did one statement cause his offense to wilt? It makes for a great narrative, especially for those who were already banging the "hubris" drum, who think the Nationals' belief that they were building a perennial contender shows a lack of respect for the difficulty of succeeding year after year. But how could the Nationals not know just how difficult it is to make the postseason? After a 79-year gap between postseason appearances by a D.C.-based team? After the 100-loss seasons when the Nationals were out of it by May? It wasn't arrogance, (okay, maybe it was a little bit), that led Johnson to say what he did about making it the World Series, it was what everyone was thinking, including his players, and a good number of people covering the sport, and he knew that, so why not say it?

"There's no sense in me romancing anybody," Johnson told reporters earlier this Spring in discussion #WSOB, "and telling you that, 'Jeez, we'll be lucky if we win the division,' or be lucky if we go far in the playoffs." And besides, as he explained, "I'm not telling these players anything that they don't believe themselves." The season's not over. It will be a shame if he can't go out on top as a reward for what he's brought to the baseball-loving fans in the nation's capital. But there are a lot of reasons why this year hasn't played out as many hoped, the least of which is that headline-grabbing quote.

On to the links, which start... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "'My left-handers got to start hitting left-handers sooner or later,' Johnson said aloud to no one in particular." - "End of Davey Johnson’s Nationals tenure draws near" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "[Davey] Johnson retreated after seven innings with excruciating back pain, similar to the kind he had in the final game of the 2012 season." - "Jayson Werth bangs up knee, Davey Johnson leaves with back pain" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Jayson] Werth was treated by team medical director Dr. Wiemi Duougiuh in the game’s later innings and is not expected to receive an MRI." - "Werth, Davey leave Nats' win with injuries" - Chase Hughes, NatsInsider.com

• "'If you watch Desi play on a day in, day out basis, he is fun to watch,' [Jayson] Werth said." - "Werth on his knee, Desmond and Strasburg" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "I believe [Danny] Espinosa will get his career straightened out once he is healthy. But I don't see him playing every day for the Nationals anymore." - "Nationals Inbox: Will Ryan Zimmerman play first base?" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "[Stephen] Strasburg's ERA (2.83), WHIP (1.039) and hits allowed (6.7 per nine innings) all are better this year than in '10 or '12..." - "Tuesday morning tidbits" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "There has always been an effort by Nationals coaches, and by Stephen Strasburg himself, to become more efficient." - "Stephen Strasburg and his improved efficiency" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "[Wilson] Ramos’ ERA as a catcher this season is 3.13 through 39 games, that ranks favorably among the best defensive backstops in the majors this season." - "Ramos, Strasburg make magic vs. Phillies" - Chase Hughes, NatsInsider.com

• "The Nats also showed signs of life against left-handed pitching this weekend for the first time in seemingly forever." - "Nationals Pastime: Offensively, Nats showing signs of life" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The Nats have had little luck sustaining momentum. Their longest winning streak is five games, and they haven't won more than three straight since early July." - "San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals - August 13, 2013" - Andrew Simon, MLB.com Preview

• "The Nationals are suing an insurance company in an effort to recover $1 million of the signing bonus they gave to a fraudulent Dominican prospect in 2006." - "Nationals suing insurance company over ‘Smiley Gonzalez’ signing bonus" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "If this season turned out as many predicted, this would be a marquee series previewing a potential playoff matchup." - "State of the Nats - 8/12" - Chase Hughes, NatsInsider.com

• "Since the start of the 2012 season, Gonzalez (28) and Bumgarner (27) rank first and second in the majors, respectively, in wins among left-handed pitchers." - "Nationals Pastime: A Drew Storen update" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Bench coach Randy Knorr has an interesting take on guys who play hard and durability." - "Ian Desmond comes to play" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter:

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "The Nats are four games below .500, well behind the Braves in the East and far out of wild-card contention. They would have to go 49-11 the rest of the season to match their 2012 record." - "Baseball's most disappointing team: Nationals or Blue Jays?" - Justin McGuire, Sporting News

• "Washington Nationals fans might be forgiven if they'd rather just forget everything that happened before 2010." - "Washington Nationals sue insurer over ballplayer age fraud" - Ben Fischer, Washington Business Journal

• "Commissioners in Osceola County are under increased pressure to scrap plans for a proposed spring training facility for the Washington Nationals baseball team." - "Westgate Resorts asks Osceola Commission to rethink Nationals..." - www.wftv.com

• "Jayson Werth has been a disappointment since signing with the Washington Nationals prior to the 2011 season. He batted just .232 that year and spent nearly half of 2012 on the disabled list." - "All-Star break has its effects on MLB players" - Ron Shandler, USA TODAY Sports

• "Back in 2006, the Nationals gave a $1.4 million signing bonus to 16-year-old Dominican shortstop Esmailyn Gonzalez." - "The Nationals Are Suing Over A Prospect Who Lied About His Age" - Barry Petchesky, Deadspin

• "At some point later this month, when the Nationals officially get eliminated from the postseason, the talk will turn back to the 2012 postseason, when Washington made the idiotic decision to shut down their ace, Stephen Strasburg." - "Guess the Nationals Should Have Used Stephen Strasburg in the 2012 Postseason, Huh?" - Jason McIntyre, The Big Lead

• NATSTOWN:

• "In fact, in the 58 games he's played since returning from injury, [Jayson] Werth has hit .354/.438/.591." - "Nationals Buzz: Werth's resurgence provides some fun down the stretch" - Dave Nichols, MASNSports.com

• "Smileygate, revisited" - Nats Enquirer

• "Last year’s home run production masked the fact the Nats just don’t get enough runners on base to begin with." - "OPINION: Nats offensive problems nothing new, it’s who they’ve always been" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "August 12, 2010 – Transactions Washington Nationals released Ron Villone." - "This Day in Washington Nationals History" - Mark Hornbaker, D.C. Baseball History

• "Is LaRoche a Platoon Player Now?" - The Nationals Review

• "Stephen Strasburg's complete-game shutout on Sunday was an exclamation point at the end of a weekend statement that the Nationals have found their sense of pride." - "Nationals Buzz: Playing for pride" - Ted Leavengood, MASNSports.com

• "Ian Desmond wants to get the Barra Brava/Screaming Eagles out to a Nats game" - Nats Enquirer

• "Remembering 1924 – Indians 5, Senators 1" - Mark Hornbaker, D.C. Baseball History

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Potomac: "Potomac RHP Blake Schwartz (10-4) won his tenth game of the season with a sparkling performance featuring 7.0 shutout frames in which he allowed just four base hits while walking two and fanning one." - "P-Nats End Four Game Losing Skid with 2-0 Shutout Over Carolina" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: "A.J. Cole improved to 3-0 in four starts with six strong innings of work." - "Hague Lifts Sens to Series Win" - Marshall Kelner, Harrisburg Senators News

Triple-A Syracuse: "The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, split a doubleheader with the Buffalo Bisons on Monday night from Coca-Cola Field." - "Chiefs, Bisons split two on Monday" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "[A.J.] Cole struggled to get through the first inning after walking the first two batters, then allowed a go-ahead home run to Justin Howard in the fourth." - "Alone in first again; Ricky Hague sprays Lemon Pledge; A.J. Cole keeps winning: Harrisburg Senators notebook" - Geoff Morrow, PennLive.com

• "Third baseman/first baseman Matt Skole has been out the entire season because of an injury early he suffered in April." - "Skole tweets he is close to being cleared to resume baseball-related activities" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• Triple-A Syracuse: "Syracuse hitting coach Troy Gingrich said Walters has worked to balance himself better during his left-handed swing." - "Zach Walters thriving, homering at Syracuse" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "[Yunesky Maya] is 3-1 with a 1.52 ERA over his last four starts for Tony Beasley's Chiefs and is 7-7 with a 3.94 ERA over 20 total starts." - "Jayson Werth, Yunesky Maya, Justin Miller and Derek Self featured in this week's Harrisburg Senators organizational glance" - Geoff Morrow, PennLive.com

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

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Phillies: "Twice in three days, the Braves have been on the wrong side when a long streak ended at Turner Field." - "Phillies beat Teheran and Braves 5-1, snap 11-game road skid" - David O'Brien, www.ajc.com

Mets: "The Mets fell to the streaking Dodgers by a score of 4-2 tonight in Los Angeles." - "Final Score: Dodgers 4, Mets 2 – More like Chad Un-Fairchild, amirite?" - Steve Schreiber, Amazin' Avenue

Marlins: "By handing the Marlins a 6-2 loss on Monday, the Royals crept closer to the top in the American League Central and wild-card standings." - "KANSAS CITY, Mo.: Reeling Miami Marlins fall victim to hot Kansas City Royals" - Clark Spencer, MiamiHerald.com

Braves: "With Chase Utley re-signing and both Cody Asche and Darin Ruf making the jump from the minor leagues to the major leagues, the potential starting lineup for the 2014 Phillies is coming into view." - "Phils doing squat with Ruiz' contract" - Ryan Lawrence, Philadelphia Daily News

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