Wire Taps: Nationals bring some A's back to Oakland for series with Athletics...

Mitchell Leff

Jerry Blevins and Gio Gonzalez were Oakland Athletics before they were Washington Nationals. Derek Norris and Tommy Milone were Nats before they were A's. Remember Fernando Abad? It's reunion weekend in O.co. Links to follow...

Jerry Blevins took over on the mound in May 2nd's game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank Park with a runner on second after Aaron Barrett gave up a one-out double by Cody Asche in what was then a 3-2 game in the home team's favor. The Nats' 6'6'' lefty got the final two outs of the Philly seventh with just eight pitches.

When the Nationals rallied in the top of the eighth, Matt Williams sent Tyler Clippard out "in his spot."

"If we don't do anything there in that inning he's probably going to go back out to face the lefties. And that's one of the advantages that you have with someone like Jerry, that can give you multiple innings. He can go in and finish one up and go back out for the next. It turned out that we scored so we put Clippard in his spot."

"That's one of the advantages that you have with someone like Jerry, that can give you multiple innings." - Matt Williams on Nats' lefty Jerry Blevins

In the series finale with Philadelphia, Blevins replaced Gio Gonzalez in the eighth inning of a game the Nationals trailed 1-0, inheriting a runner in scoring position at second and stranding him there 13 pitches and two outs later.

Blevins was one of five Nationals' relievers who combined to shut the LA Dodgers down after rain interrupted Jordan Zimmermann's start in the first game of the series. The lefty needed 15 pitches to complete a scoreless sixth.

In the series finale with Los Angeles, Blevins inherited a two on, one-out jam in a one-run game which the Nationals led 3-2. He battled Dodgers' slugger Adrian Gonzalez for 10 pitches before popping him up. Williams went to Clippard for the final out and the right-handed set-up man retired Yasiel Puig to end the inning.

"He can get out of an inning and go out for the next one and finish that one too, so that's valuable..." - Matt Williams on Jerry Blevins' value

The Nationals' skipper talked about how much Blevins has meant to the Nats' bullpen after the series-clinching win.

"He's been great for us," Williams said. "The situational-type innings or batters that he does and he can also go an inning-plus for you too. So, he can get out of an inning and go out for the next one and finish that one too, so that's valuable depending on where you're at in an opposing lineup."

Blevins and his new team are in Oakland this weekend.

He returns to the O.co Coliseum for the first time since he was traded to Washington this winter with a 2.93 ERA, a 2.63 FIP, six walks (3.52 BB/9) and 19 Ks (11.15 K/9) in 15 1/3 IP. The first game of three for the Nationals in Oakland starts at 10:05 pm EDT with Doug Fister starting for the Nats. More on that a little later...

We'll now gracefully segue into the links... starting... RIGHT NOW!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "Without Fister, the Nationals’ starting rotation has been solid. Its 3.55 ERA ranks 10th, but 19 rotations have thrown more innings." - "Doug Fister set to return from injury and make Washington Nationals debut" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "The task confronting Nationals left-hander Jerry Blevins on Wednesday afternoon was simple, yet challenging." - "Jerry Blevins' showdown with Adrian Gonzalez shows pitcher's value" - Andrew Simon, nationals.com: News

• "Detwiler continued a somewhat troubling trend this week, following up last week’s loss to the Padres with another poor outing..." - "Nationals Stock Watch: Rendon’s hot week" - Daniel Shiferaw, Nats Insider

• "On the path from nationally known prodigy to finished product, where is Strasburg?" - "Strasburg’s learning curve continues, but greatness may be on the horizon" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "Podcast: ‘Baseball in the District’ – Syracuse voice Jason Benetti" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider

• "On the path from nationally known prodigy to finished product, where is Strasburg?" - "Strasburg’s learning curve continues, but greatness may be on the horizon" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "Three-run deficits have not turned into five-run blowouts. Last year, struggles in middle relief led to deflation. This year, success has led to confidence." - "The Nationals’ bullpen has been lights out" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post


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

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "A native of Northern California, Fister will have several family members, including his parents, in attendance." - "Washington Nationals at Oakland Athletics - May 9, 2014" - Jane Lee, MLB.com Preview

• "It's a bad joke that might actually be so bad it's good because Harper himself made it. Think about that for a second." - "Bryce Harper makes the NFL Draft joke that you were waiting for all day" - Mike Oz, Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports

• Rendon-Frandsen-Harper-Nontroversy:

• "But to utility infielder Kevin Frandsen, Washington’s best young player is 23-year-old infielder Anthony Rendon." - "Nationals’ Kevin Frandsen: Anthony Rendon ‘best young guy we have, by far’" - Chris Mascaro, SI Wire

• "Frandsen made sure to qualify his claim as 'personal opinion,' which is good because no objective measure really backs it up at all." - "Outfielder’s perceived slight of Bryce Harper prompts incredibly dumb controversy" - Ted Berg, For The Win

• "It's clear Frandsen was heaping praise on Rendon more than he was taking a shot at Harper, but this is the internet..." - "Nats' Frandsen says Rendon is 'the best young guy we have, by far'" - Mike Axisa, CBSSports.com

• "It's easy to forget, especially in the shadow of Harper, that Rendon was an exceptionally hyped prospect in his own right." - "Someone actually said Anthony Rendon is better than Bryce Harper?" - Grant Brisbee, SBNation.com

• BACK TO NATS BEAT:

• "A's catcher Derek Norris is generating a buzz on two fronts this season." - "A's catcher Derek Norris gets attention for beard, bat" - John Hickey, San Jose Mercury News

• "Friday: A's Tommy Milone (0-3, 5.86 ERA) vs. Nationals' Doug Fister (0-0, 0.00), 7:05 p.m." - [ed. note - " It's been hard, and a long fight, but my campaign to get possessive apostrophes into baseball coverage is bearing fruit."] - "A's-Nationals pitching matchups" - San Jose Mercury News

• Q: Drew Ward now at .316/.400/.506/.906as a 19 yr old in the sally league. You come around on him yet? Klaw: Don't scout the stat line, especially when it's just 79 AB - and a huge chunk of that production came in one series at West Virginia." - "Chat with Keith Law" - Keith Law, SportsNation - ESPN

• NATS MINORS:

Low-A Hagerstown: "Starting LHP Hector Silvestre (1-0) held the Legends hitless and scoreless for the five innings he worked on Monday to earn the win." - "Suns take series with Legends with 6-5 win" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News

High-A Potomac: "The Pelicans got to LHP Brett Mooneyham (2-3) in a big way as the southpaw allowed seven runs for the second consecutive start." - "Pelicans Dominate Nationals 10-4 in Series Opener" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: "It started with a jolt, but Harrisburg's series opener in Binghamton Thursday night ended with a whimper..." - "Mount Joy native Darin Gorski leads Binghamton past Harrisburg Senators" - Geoff Morrow, PennLive.com

• "Nationals pitching prospect Danny Rosenbaum had Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament on Thursday..." - "Nats’ prospect Danny Rosenbaum has Tommy John" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider

• "The two weeks without pitching in a game sparked some concern, especially after Jordan’s velocity nosedived in his last appearance." - "Taylor Jordan doing ‘fine,’ other notes from the minors" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Despite a DL stint that sidelined him for 11 days, Ward emerged as the Suns’ best all-around hitter." - "Federal Reserve: Minor League Players of the Month for April 2014" - Zach Spedden, The Nats Blog

• "The Chiefs won their sixth game in a row this afternoon, defeating the Durham Bulls 8-5 before a Dollar Day gathering of 3,369 at sunny (yes, sunny) MBT Bank Stadium." - "The Syracuse Chiefs win again to improve to 18-15, so get out the good word: Don't break 'em up!" - Bud Poliquin, Syracuse.com

Triple-A Syracuse: "Outfielder Destin Hood collected three hits and batted in two runs. The Chiefs finished their eight-game homestand with a 7-1 record." - "Chiefs sweep Bulls, win sixth straight" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• NATSTOWN:

• "And so, Bryce Harper reacted to the Houston Texans' selection of Jadeveon Clowney with the #1 pick in the NFL Draft Thursday night..." - "Bryce Harper makes 'That's a Clowney Pick, Bro' joke after Texans select Jadeveon Clowney" - Nats Enquirer

• "Ian Desmond and the fight against Neurofibromatosis" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "The Nationals Review Podcast Episode 31" - The Nationals Review

• "Nationals (Almost) Quarterly Report" - Nationals 101

• "Coming into this season, I figured (along with many) that Detwiler’s pre-injury 2013 performance, coupled with his break-out 2012 season would earn him the 5th rotation spot." - "The Nats should just move Detwiler" - Todd Boss, Nationals Arm Race

• "But let's take this moment to tip the hat to Rizzo for doing something right." - "The right way" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• NL EAST UPDATES:

1st Place Marlins: "It's not going to last, but considering their recent history, how they spent last season as a punch line, here's credit where it's due: the Miami Marlins are in first place in the NL East." - "This is not a joke: the Miami Marlins are in first place in the NL East" - Mike Oz, Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports

1st Place Marlins: "As if the wins weren't enough, the Marlins appear to have added to the degree of difficulty by waiting until the last at-bat in three of their last four games to secure victory." - "On the Miami Marlins' recent run of walkoffs" - Paul Washington, Fish Stripes

Phillies: "The Phillies optioned infielder Freddy Galvis to Triple-A Lehigh Valley following Thursday's 12-6 loss to the Blue Jays." - "Phils option Galvis to get him more at-bats" - Todd Zolecki, phillies.com: News

Mets: "Jenrry Mejia is tired of hearing the buzz he might be headed to the bullpen." - "Talk of move to bullpen irritates Mejia" - Mike Puma, New York Post

Braves: "But while batting .114 with a .188 on-base percentage in the 12 games that have followed, Uggla has seemingly exhausted all of the patience Atlanta showed him over the past two years." - "Dan Uggla's offensive issues have Braves weighing second-base options" - Mark Bowman, braves.com: News

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