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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals vs St. Louis Cardinals, Rubber Match Thursday.

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ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 12: Fans wait outside Busch Stadium prior to the St. Louis Cardinals playing against the Houston Astros in the home opener at Busch Stadium on April 12, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 12: Fans wait outside Busch Stadium prior to the St. Louis Cardinals playing against the Houston Astros in the home opener at Busch Stadium on April 12, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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• Programming Note: 1:45 pm EDT start time today. Tom Gorzelanny vs Kyle Lohse in the series finale between the Nats and Cards, who split yesterday's day/night doubleheader. Sirius/XM has the action on ch.186. FP and Bob are MASN HD on the TV, 1500 WFED and WHFS 1580 on the AM dial for Charlie and Dave. After today's game it's off to Pittsburgh for a three-game set with the Pirates this weekend. The Nationals enter today's game at 9-8. A win gives the Nats 5 of their last 6. Can Gorzelanny continue the 5.0-IP-per-start streak? Who's Watching the Nationals?

• LINKS AND LINKS AND...

• NATS BEAT: 

• "Since there were two strikes, Hairston had no choice. In one motion, he put his hand back on his bat, cocked his hands and swung..." - "About that strange single by Jerry Hairston" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Zimmermann showed what he can do last week when he spots his fastball effectively, and he didn't do that quite as well tonight." - "Nationals fall to Cardinals in second game of doubleheader" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• "'I don’t believe in luck,' Hairston said, 'but it was just one of those things where it wasn’t really skill, either.'" - "Nationals' bats quieted in second game of doubleheader against Cards" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'He’s a special talent with great baseball instincts...He’s pushing a little too hard right now, but he’ll figure it out.'" - Davey Johnson on Bryce Harper"On Road to Majors, Hagerstown is Harper's Latest Stop" - Ben Strauss, NYTimes.com

 

• "'We saw it out in the bullpen and we get fired up about that stuff. With [Werth's] talent, he doesn't need to do that, but he does. He grinds it out.'" - Drew Storen on Werth breaking up double play with hard slide - "Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals: Third inning gateway to Nats' win in St. Louis"- Bill Ladson, MLB.com

• "'You just can’t let them get back in the game,' Riggleman said of Game 1. 'It was just a tough-fought win for a 7-0 ballgame.'" - "Nationals vs. Cardinals: Washington and St. Louis split day-night doubleheader" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "The Nats had thrown seven consecutive quality starts prior to Wednesday, but John Lannan snapped that streak by only pitching five innings in the opener." - "Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals - April 21, 2011" - Spencer Fordin, MLB.com Preview

• "'We’re not going to be a slugging ball club. My guess [in spring training] was that we’ll probably end up scoring a similar number of runs that we did last year but do it with less home runs.'" - Jim Riggleman -"Nationals start fast, hang on to beat Cards" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "During Desmond's absence, the Nationals will most likely call up a position player to stay in the big leagues until Desmond is ready to play again." - "Desmond to take leave for birth of son" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com

• "A pair of multimedia notes (TV, podcasting)" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• "According to Zimmermann, the key to the inning was walking Albert Pujols on a 3-2 pitch with two outs and nobody on base." - "Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals: Zimmermann helps 'pen rest, but Nats fall." - Bill Ladson, MLB.com

• NATS MINOR LEAGUE UPDATES: 

• Triple-A Syracuse: "[Ross] Detwiler improved to 2-0 with six innings of three-run ball. He allowed five hits, walking one and striking out three." - "Chiefs snap losing streak with 6-3 win" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• Double-A Harrisburg: "Erik Davis started for Harrisburg and pitched 5.1 innings, the longest outing by a Sens start this season, and gave up two runs on four hits." - "Altoona Slips Past the Sens 3-2" - Terry Byrom, Harrisburg Senators News

• Class-A Potomac: "Potomac Nationals earned their first series victory of 2011 with a split of Wednesday's doubleheader in Frederick." - "NATIONALS GET FIRST SERIES WIN" - Potomac Nationals News

• Class-A Harperstown: "Top Nationals prospect Bryce Harper posted his first multi-hit performance since April 10, going 2-for-5 with a double and a pair of runs scored in Class A Hagerstown's 8-3 loss to Hickory on Wednesday night..." - Suns' Harper doubles, scores twice" - Danny Wild, MLB.com

• Your Daily Message from the Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama): "Developing love and compassion and reducing anger and spite is a universal activity which requires no faith in any religion whatsoever."

NatsSHARKTown: 

• "Roger Bernadina brought his A+ game to Pawtucket.  While batting second in the Chiefs lineup, the Shark had a walk, 2 singles, 2 stolen bases, and a run scored (which was the go ahead run in a tied game)." - "DEUCES WILD! SHARK TIME!" - Sharkadina, Street Shark: Roger Bernadina's Unofficial Blog

• NATSTOWN: 

• "...so far this season Werth is grounding out at rates that are astronomically higher than his career averages and much higher than N.L. average." - "Werth's Early Stuggles in Stance Change?" - Dave Nichols, Nats News Network

• "Charlie Sheen visits Nationals Park" - Nationals Buzz, Kristen Hudak, MASNSports.com

• "Watching the Nationals zoom past .500 the last couple days, it's hard not to have a sense of deja vu." - "Jim Riggleman: The King of April" - Steven, FJB

• "Mauer Injury Highlights Why Harper is in Right Field" - Jeff Bergin, Stat Boy | Washington Nationals Daily News

• "John Lannan did not pitch particularly well, but he did get through five innings, allowing just two earned runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out two." - "Nats Split Doubleheader with Cardinals" - Dave Nichols, Nats News Network

• NL EAST UPDATES: 

• Marlins: Florida Marlins left fielder Logan Morrison(notes) had an MRI Wednesday on a hurting left foot but nobody was around who could interpret the results, according to the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel." - "Marlins' Morrison waiting on injury diagnosis" - Scoop Du Jour - Mark J. Miller, Yahoo! Sports

Phillies"Phillies beat the Brewers, as homers fly, redemption and mirth rediscovered as 2-game losing slide to doom ends." - "Comeback, Shane! Phillies 4, Brewers 3" - Wet Luzinski, The Good Phight

Mets: "The first three weeks of the season haven't exactly gone the Mets' way, while everyone — fans, beat writers, mongos — dump ceaselessly on them..." - "Astros 4, Mets 3: Is This Rock Bottom Yet?" - Eric Simon, Amazin' Avenue

Braves: "'It was not real good at all. It had nothing to do with days' rest,' Lowe said. 'I never got in a good rhythm. They did a lot of taking. They beat me up. I wasn't very sharp and they took advantage of that."' - Derek Lowe on loss to LA - "Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers: On short rest, Lowe doesn't last long in loss" - Quinn Roberts, MLB.com

• MLB News: 

• "It’s impossible to see Bud Selig’s announcement that Major League Baseball will assume operating control of the Los Angeles Dodgers and not remember the last time MLB made this move." - On Valentine’s Day 2002, the league did the same with the teetering Montreal Expos." - "MLB Takes Over Dodgers, Expos Fan Nods Sadly" - Jonah Keri, FanGraphs Baseball

• Joe Blogs: "The Hall of Not Famous Enough" - Joe Posnanski, SI.com