Wire Taps: Doug Fister to make Nationals debut Friday; Nats vs Dodgers tonight in D.C.

USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Zimmermann vs Zack Greinke? Who's going to miss that? The Washington Nationals start a three-game set with the LA Dodgers tonight in D.C. So... who's starting tomorrow? We still don't know....

"It's been ebb and flow for the season so far," Washington Nationals' skipper Matt Williams said Sunday when asked to sum up the first month-plus of his first season as a major league manager. "Some really good stretches and some not-so-good stretches. But considering what's happened to us and where we're at, we're okay. We've got to keep battling them though. We've got certainly a tough homestand and a tough road trip coming up. So, have to play well."

"Some really good stretches and some not-so-good stretches. But considering what's happened to us and where we're at, we're okay." - Matt Williams on Nats after first month+ of 2014

The homestand is a quick one. The 17-14 Nationals start a three-game set with the LA Dodgers tonight at 7:05 pm EDT with Jordan Zimmermann on the mound against Los Angeles' right-hander Zack Greinke. After three in D.C., it's off to Oakland for a three-game series with the A's and then Arizona for three games with the D-Backs.

While the mystery about who will be starting for the Nationals on Tuesday remains (Ross Detwiler? Triple-A arm? Blake Treinen? Craig Stammen?), Williams did announce on Sunday that, as he'd previously suggested, Stephen Strasburg will start on regular rest in Wednesday's series finale with LA and Doug Fister will make his Nationals debut when the Nats travel to Oakland for their first games in the O.co Coliseum.

"Wednesday it will be Strasburg. Friday it will be Doug," Williams said. "We don't know how we're going to come out of [Monday], depending on what kind of situation we get into, so the starter for Tuesday is still TBA."

Who's your pick for Tuesday's starter?

While you ponder that question, why not read some links? There are lots of them below... starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "Over the next five days, the Nationals expect to activate Wilson Ramos, Doug Fister and Scott Hairston off the disabled list." - "Nationals getting Wilson Ramos, Doug Fister, Scott Hairston back soon" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• NATS BEAT:

• "Having played all season with several key pieces on the disabled list, the Nationals will start to get some of their injured players back this week." - "Doug Fister to debut Friday, Scott Hairston could return Monday" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Gonzalez did his part, checking the Phillies on four hits over 7 1/3 innings and allowing only a first-inning run on a triple by Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley's single." - "Nationals Pastime: Missed opportunities dog Nats in 1-0 loss to Phillies" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com

• "Hitting coach Rick Schu is not surprised by Espinosa's success at the plate." - "Espinosa getting job done off the bench" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "The Nationals have made a habit this season of producing little offense against an opponent’s starting pitcher and then beating up their bullpen." - "Nationals face another test in Dodgers" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "For the second straight day, they squandered an opportunity to leapfrog the Braves (now on a 6-game losing streak) for first place in the NL East." - "Instant analysis: Phillies 1, Nats 0" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "The Nationals have now set two-thirds of their starting rotation for the three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers that begins Monday at Nats Park." - "Nationals Pastime: Strasburg to pitch Wednesday, Fister on Friday" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com

• "Gonzalez picked up his second loss of the season. It was one of those games where he knew he had to keep the team in the game as long as possible." - "Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies - May 4, 2014" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "In the Nationals’ 1-0 loss at Citizens Bank Park, Hernandez made clear the Nationals had run into something far different than luck." - "Nationals can’t solve Roberto Hernandez, lose 1-0 in series finale against Phillies" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "The Nationals have been giving themselves a chance just about every night they take the field." - "Nationals miss opportunity to beat Phillies and take over first place" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "All five NL East teams now have above-.500 records. Only 1 1/2 games separate first place from last place." - "Nationals Pastime: Hanging in and about to get a few 'shots in the arm'" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

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

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "Some of us in the media have praised this franchise so effusively that a good number of Nats fans expected the franchise to have the NL East clinched by now." - "Richard Justice: Team to beat in National League East? Take your pick" - Richard Justice, nationals.com: News

• "Greinke is 3-0 with a 1.78 ERA in four lifetime starts against Washington and threw six scoreless innings last July 20 in his only start at Nationals Park." - "Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals - May 5, 2014" - Ken Gurnick, MLB.com Preview

• "The Nationals are off to a 17-14 start under first-year manager Matt Williams despite injuries that have cost them Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos and Doug Fister, among others." - "On deck: Dodgers at Nationals, Monday, 4 p.m., SportsNet LA" - Bill Plunkett, The Orange County Register

• "Puig is day to day for the visiting Dodgers, who will try to defeat the Washington Nationals for the sixth straight meeting in Monday night's opener of a three-game set." - "Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Washington Nationals - Preview - May 05, 2014" - ESPN Los Angeles

• "Strasburg has never been the same since his injury and many people have pointed to his mechanics as a long-term issue that might affect his career moving forward." - "Former Aztec Strasburg struggling in MLB" - Cameron Salce, The Daily Aztec

• "There are days Mike Hinckley gets frustrated. There are those days the Capitol Hill baseball coach and former Major League Baseball pitcher even feels like he’s done." - "High school baseball: Even in a one-win season, coach Mike Hinckley sees progress at Capitol Hill" - Jacob Unruh, News OK

• "Bryce Harper, the Washington Nationals' All-Star left fielder, was recently put on the disabled list due to a sprained left thumb, becoming the latest major league player to injure himself via a headfirst slide." - "When sliding, it's better to think, not lead, with your head" - Jeff Kirshman, Star-Tribune

• NATS MINORS:

• "The low Single-A Hagerstown Suns, a Nationals affiliate playing in the South Atlantic League, have started the season 21-7 with big hitting and some good games from the starters." - "Relief pitching one major key to Hagerstown's success" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Last Night In Hagerstown" - NationalsProspects.com

• "A Firsthand Account of Lucas Giolito and the Hagerstown Suns" - Ryan Sullivan, NatsGM

• "Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos, playing for Hagerstown on a rehab assignment, hit a three-run homer to break a 1-1 tie, and the Suns went on to a 10-8 win over the Lexington Legends Sunday." - "Rehabbing Ramos slugs homer to lift Hagerstown over Legends by a 10-8 margin" - Lexington Legends, KYForward.com

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

• "Senators/Nationals organization review features Craig Stammen, Brian Goodwin, Stephen Perez, Nick Pivetta, and Jonny Tucker." - "Craig Stammen graduates, Brian Goodwin homers, and Nick Pivetta deals: Senators/Nationals glance" - Mick Reinhard, PennLive.com

• "The Potomac Nationals (16-10, 9-6) crushed the Winston-Salem Dash (10-17, 5-10) in the Game Four finale at BB&T Ballpark on Sunday afternoon winning 11-3." - "Potomac Nationals blast Dash, 11-3" - Augusta Free Press

• "On Friday night in Reading the Senators blasted four home runs in their 9-4 win over Reading. Harrisburg won their second straight, fourth in their past five games and moved to 8-17 on the year while Reading dropped to 12-12." - "Senators Slug Four Homers in 9-4 win over Reading" - Harrisburg Senators News

• "Chiefs right-hander Taylor Hill threw a complete-game shutout, retiring 17 batters in a row and striking out five." - "Hill's three-hitter leads Chiefs past Mud Hens" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• NATSTOWN:

• "Between 1995 and 2005, the NL East division, and much of baseball, belonged to the Atlanta Braves." - "Washington Nationals: Overthrowing The Latest NL East Dynasty" - Brian Skinnell, District Sports Page

• "Ryan Zimmerman’s fifth annual 'Night at the Park,' which raises money for multiple sclerosis research, will be held on June 16 at Nationals Park." - "Date set for Ryan Zimmerman’s ‘Night at the Park’" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "With the help of the internet fundraising site Indiegogo, Desmond is raising money to fight against neurofibromatosis." - "Desmond raising money to combat neurofibromatosis" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "So what are the problems (or any bright spots) that the Nats should be looking at addressing as we play through May?" - "Monday Quickie - Trends into Concerns" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "The clutch bat of Wilson Ramos and the intimidating, groundball-inducing Doug Fister are both likely to return to the Nats this week." - "Nationals Buzz: Marty Niland: Hang on, help is on the way" - Marty Niland, MASNSports.com

• "Gio Gonzalez went deep into the game, but unfortunately the Nationals could not put any runs on the board in a frustrating 1-0 loss to the Phillies in the final game of their three game series." - "Nats Squander Gem From Gio in 1-0 Loss to Phillies" - Nick Fineman, The Nats Blog

• "Phillies right-hander Roberto Hernandez shut down the Nats, holding the 17-14 squad to four total hits and no runs through his 7.1 innings pitched." - "Washington Nationals Game 31 Review: Nats’ Bats Silenced in 1-0 Loss to Phillies" - Alyssa Wolice, District Sports Page

• "We’re a month into the minor league season and nearly five turns through each minor league system rotation, so lets take a look to see how our starters are doing." - "Minor League Rotation Review – April 2014" - Todd Boss, Nationals Arm Race

• "Scouting Report- Los Angeles Dodgers" - Matt's Bats

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Phillies: "In the bottom of the third inning against Washington Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez on Sunday afternoon, Ben Revere slapped a ground ball down the first base line into the right field corner." - "Ben Revere Needs to Do More Than Just Hit Singles"- Bill Baer, Crashburn Alley

Mets: "Over the course of the first month, the Mets had one of the worst offenses in baseball and their top hitters were struggling." - "Mets middle of the lineup starting to heat up after cold start" - Mike Vorkunov, NJ.com

Marlins: "Jose Fernandez bent the full count, 85-mph breaking ball into the strike zone. All Hanley Ramirez could do was watch and smile." - "Miami Marlins: Jeff Baker comes through with walk-off double to top Dodgers" - Juan C. Rodriguez, Sun Sentinel

Braves: "After a career year in 2013 that saw him reach the big leagues for the first time in September, many thought Braves catching prospect Christian Bethancourt would be ready to take over full time in Atlanta for Brian McCann..." - "Atlanta Braves prospect Christian Bethancourt heating up at Triple-A" - Jonathan Mayo, braves.com: News

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