Wire Taps: Nationals Opening Day Links - Stephen Strasburg vs Dillon Gee In Citi Field

USA TODAY Sports

It's only a matter of hours now until the Washington Nationals and New York Mets start the 2014 campaign in New York's Citi Field where Stephen Strasburg and Dillon Gee will face off in Game 1 of 162. Before the game, here's all the news we could find for Opening Day....

Washington Nationals' starter Stephen Strasburg told reporters on Saturday that he and his teammates were ready for Opening Day and looking forward to getting the season started. "It's something that [we] worked hard all spring to get this point," the Nats' 25-year-old Opening Day starter explained, "and I think everybody is confident going into the season and I think it should be a good year for us."

Strasburg will take the mound in the bottom of the first inning this afternoon in Flushing, Queens, New York's Citi Field, making his third straight Opening Day start.

Don't worry about the weather. It's raining, with a little snow right now in New York, but the forecast says it's going to clear up around noon and it looks like it should be clear enough to get the game in. No jinx.

While you're patiently waiting and ignoring what it looks like outside, here are all the links that are fit to print.

Back by popular demand, it's Federal Baseball's Wire Taps, a daily collection of all the news on the Nats from the internets.

The 2014 campaign is almost here.

Links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "When the Nationals switched from Davey Johnson to Matt Williams after last season, it was emblematic of the era." - "Inside the game, most think the manager can make a big difference" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• Nationals' Opening Day Lineup:

• NATS BEAT:

• "Nobody knows if Matt Williams will make the Nationals better or worse. That’s the point — he is an unproven commodity." - "Nationals might be good enough to live up to expectations this time" - Thom Loverro, Washington Times

• "This year, new manager Matt Williams declined to follow in [Davey] Johnson's footsteps as far as making a bold prediction." - "Nationals shore up soft spots in effort to reach goal" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Opening day, of course, marks a fresh start for every big league organization. Everyone has hope on this day, even the teams that finished the 2013 campaign at the back of the pack." - "Nationals Pastime: Despite disappointing 2013, Nats a confident bunch entering a new season" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "In 2014, managers confront an instantaneous media culture, players making salaries exponentially larger than theirs, an expanding trove of data and 25 personalities from disparate backgrounds." - "Nationals’ Matt Williams is learning that filling out lineup card is just the beginning" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "The day has arrived at last. In a mere seven hours, Denard Span will step to the plate to face Dillon Gee, and the 10th season in Nationals history will be underway." - "Washington Nationals beat reporters predict the 2014 season" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "This will be the Washington Nationals’ 10th Opening Day since baseball returned to D.C., and there have been plenty of memorable Opening Day moments in that span." - "Opening Day Memories" - Amanda Comak, Curly W Live

• "Last opening day was one of the happiest moments, if not the happiest, of a season filled with disappointment." - "Stephen Strasburg: ‘I think the sky is the limit with this club’" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "When talking about what’s changed about him over the years, though, Strasburg dips into the running and golfing lexicon." - "Stephen Strasburg has new perspective on what it takes to succeed" - Mike Harris, Washington Times

• "While he leads the effort to help the Nationals reach the postseason, Strasburg is showing a different side -- one that most haven't seen from him." - "Healthy perspective has Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg raring to go" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "[Rick] Schu was promoted to hitting coach in mid-July after spending four years as a roving hitting instructor in the Nationals’ minor leagues." - "The Nationals coaches (and what they do)" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "Washington is the consensus favorite to win the National League East this season, based largely on the strength of its starting pitching..." - "Washington Nationals at New York Mets - March 31, 2014" - Paul Hagen, MLB.com Preview

• "On the eve of another opening day start for the Nationals, you can see the difference in Stephen Strasburg. He appears more poised, more confident..." - "Cool, calm, collected Strasburg ready for opening day start" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "[Ian] Desmond can lead, in part, because of the power of those 10 years. He feels comfortable speaking with any member of the organization, and all of them know they can talk to him." - "Ian Desmond has become the backbone of the Washington Nationals" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "VIDEO: Strasburg talks Opening Day; plus notes on Desmond, Espinosa" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider

• "The Nationals know baseball’s vagaries more intimately than most. With roughly the same core of players, they won 98 games in 2012 and 86 one year ago." - "Nationals 2014: The best case and the worst case" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Traditionally a slow starter in the early stages of the season, LaRoche goes into opening day pretty pleased with his timing at the plate and how his swing feels." - "Nationals Pastime: LaRoche on his swing, his weight and his confidence entering 2014" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• Your Daily Message from the Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama):

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "I'm taking the Nationals this season, though, just to change things up a bit and because the Angels will probably miss the playoffs anyway." - "MLB predictions: Gap is closing, but Detroit Tigers remain AL Central Division favorites" - Chris Iott, MLive.com

• "From Yahoo Sports: The Yahoo Sports baseball staff predicts how the 2014 MLB season will play out." - "MLB predictions 2014 —standings, playoffs, awards and more" - Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports

• "This is what things look like when an organization makes a few tweaks to an already-strong roster." - "Offseason In Review: Washington Nationals: MLB Rumors" - Jeff Todd, MLBTradeRumors.com

• "The Nationals rotation is stacked — led by Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister, Jordan Zimmerman and Gio Gonzalez." - "NL East Preview: Nationals, Braves will vie for crown" - Evan Macy, Metro

• "The NL appears pretty clear-cut. The Nationals should rebound, especially with the Braves’ pitching woes..." - "Baseball season predictions: World Series will end with..." - Tom D'Angelo, www.palmbeachpost.com

• "Last season started so perfectly for the Washington Nationals." - "MLB Preview - Washington Nationals at New York Mets" - CBSSports.com

• "Widely seen as favorites to win the World Series in 2013, the Washington Nationals wound up a disappointment, with an 86-76 record that left them 10 games adrift of the Atlanta Braves at the end of the season." - "Nationals 2014: Washington's year to shine at last?" - Jesse Spector, Sporting News

• "Before long, the Nationals hit the skids and missed the playoffs at 86-76 after topping the majors with 98 wins in 2012. Now, they're a popular World Series pick again." - "Mets set to face Stephen Strasburg, talented Nationals in opener" - Mike Fitzpatrick, Lohud.com

• "First-year manager Matt Williams, 48, arrives from the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he served the past three seasons as Kirk Gibson’s third-base coach." - "Series preview: Mets vs. Nats" - Adam Rubin, Mets Blog - ESPN New York

• "Among those attending Dillon Gee’s first career Opening Day start on Monday at Citi Field will be his 4-month-old son Hudson." - "Gee set for 1st Opening Day assignment" - Adam Rubin, Mets Blog - ESPN New York

• "The invitations came from many teams, but the Mets seemed to be the most eager." - "Perseverance pays off for Dillon Gee and his father" - Marc Carig, Newsday

• "After a fantastic spring training that netted him the honor of being the opening day starter today against Washington, Gee believes his workout adjustment has paid dividends." - "Mets: Dillon Gee credits regimen for getting opening day start" - NorthJersey.com

• "Phenom stories are tiresome: Guy is born awesome, guy stays awesome, fans get all hot and excited, guy will soon be filthy rich. Yawn." - "Here's why NY Mets' Dillon Gee is a deeply compelling Opening Day starter" - Andy Martino, NY Daily News

• "The Nats have a new manager (Matt Williams replaces the newly retired Davey Johnson) and expectations are high again, with many outlets predicting the Nats will do the things they didn't do in 2013." - "'The sky is the limit' for Nationals, Stephen Strasburg says" - Justin McGuire, Sporting News

• "For nearly two months down the stretch of the 2013 season no team had a better record than the Washington Nationals." - "Nats bring huge expectations into opener with Mets" - chicagotribune.com

• "Here is an opinion, from a group of anonymous players surveyed this spring: Bryce Harper, 21 years old, left fielder for the Washington Nationals, is the most overrated player in baseball." - "Everyone hates Bryce Harper? Here's why they shouldn't" - Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports Canada

• "Williams is young for a manager, just 48 years old, with only a handful of seasons as a major league coach on his resume." - "Matt Williams is learning the ropes as Nationals manager" - Howard Medgal, SportsonEarth.com

• "All last week, as spring training wound down in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Manager Terry Collins seemed grumpy. His team had obvious holes." - "Question Marks Will Head North With the Mets and Punctuate Their Opener" - Tim Rohan, NYTimes.com

• "Washington fell flat last season after winning its first division title in 2012 since moving and rebranding from Montreal. They fired Davey Johnson to bring in first-time manager Matt Williams." - "MLB 2014: National League Predictions, Preview And World Series Betting Odds" - Greg Price, International Business Times

• "Belief in the Nationals and Angels remains high, especially as injuries ravage the NL East and AL West contenders." - "Nationals, Dodgers and Rays on the upswing" - Mike Harrington, The Buffalo News

• "After a 2013 season of unfulfilled high expectations, the Nationals and Davey Johnson parted ways, with the ex-Mets 1986 world championship skipper announcing his retirement." - "Nationals have the pitching, with Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmerman, and offense, with Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth, to be beasts of NL East" - Bill Madden, NY Daily News

• "It is difficult not to pick the Nationals to win anything and everything because of the quality of their pitching." - "MLB.com staff predictions for 2014 season" - MLB.com

• "The hard-throwing Strasburg — with a new pitch in his arsenal — will try to get Washington off to another strong start Monday against Dillon Gee and the New York Mets at Citi Field." - "Gee on mound for Mets on Opening Day" - dailyrecord.com

• "[Doug] Fister has dealt with elbow issues this spring, but if he is healthy, his 3.67 ERA is the highest among the team's top four projected starters." - "Hot topics: Season story lines entering 2014" - USA TODAY Sports

• "Even with a new manager leading the team, Versailles High School alumnus Craig Stammen doesn’t expect his role to change much with the Washington Nationals this season." - "Stammen ready to begin season with new manager" - Kyle Shaner, dailyadvocate.com

• "The Nationals will start Stephen Strasburg, who was 4-0 with a 1.83 ERA in five spring-training starts. He’s allowed one run in 14 innings in two previous Opening Day starts." - "Tops stats to know: For openers ..." - Stats & Info Blog - ESPN

• "Eckstein, the Washington Nationals hitting coach for the last five years, will spend the first part of his day studying advance scouting reports..." - "Rick Eckstein to provide 'quality control' for Angels" - Mike DiGiovanna, latimes.com

• "What got Mets pitcher Dillon Gee to the point of being worthy of the Opening Day assignment against the Washington Nationals on Monday?" - "What made Gee opener-worthy?" - Mark Simon, Mets Blog - ESPN New York

• "Scouts rave about RHP Lucas Giolito, and he ranked among the top three in the organization's strength tests pound-for-pound during the offseason conditioning camp." - "Season Preview: Top Prospects for all 30 teams" - KSPR.com

• Nats Minors/NATSTOWN:

• "At last, Opening Day. Another 162; we'll just try to remember to enjoy each and every one." - "World Series or Bust" - Nats Enquirer

• "Standing at 6’6″ with a stone-solid 230-pound physique, Giolito’s long levers and balanced, well-developed musculature are the ideal build for a power pitcher." - "Washington Nationals 2014 Top 25 Prosects: No. 1 Lucas Giolito" - District Sports Page

• "I’m going to cut to the chase. I project the 2014 Washington Nationals to win 96 games." - "Predicting the 2014 Nats: Once More Into The Breach" - Ouij, Natstradamus

• "Play ball! 2014 Nats season preview" - Nat Anacostia, Nats Noodles

• "To celebrate Opening Day, here are my 50 favorite things (not in any order) about the start of the baseball season." - "50 Things I Love About Opening Day + Post-Season Predictions" - Matt's Bats

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Braves: "The 2014 Braves have a new look with some fresh faces in the midst with Ryan Buchter and Gus Schlosser both being chosen for the 25-man roster." - "Opening Day Series Preview: Braves at Brewers" - TonyAlmeyda, Talking Chop

Phillies: "Ryne Sandberg waited a long time to become a big-league manager. He did things most star players — let alone Hall of Famers — would never do for that shot." - "Phillies X-factors: Ryne Sandberg" - John Finger, Corey Seidman, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia

Marlins: "When 21-year-old phenom Jose Fernandez fires the first pitch for the Marlins shortly after 7:10 p.m., he will become the youngest National League pitcher to make an Opening Day start since Dwight Gooden in 1985." - "Miami Marlins phenom pitcher Jose Fernandez to be front and center on Opening Night" - Clark Spencer, MiamiHerald.com

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