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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Need To Take Series From Houston Astros, Livan Hernandez On Hill.

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HOUSTON - JULY 19:  Manager Davey Johnston #5 of the Washington Nationals looks from the dugout during a basebal game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on July 19, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - JULY 19: Manager Davey Johnston #5 of the Washington Nationals looks from the dugout during a basebal game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on July 19, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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• Programming Notes: Livan Hernandez will be on the hill this afternoon, and the hill in the middle of the diamond, not the silly one in the outfield. The Washington Nationals should have swept the Astros, but instead they're looking for a series win after Jordan Zimmermann's issues and the short porch in left allowed Houston to take game two of three in Minute Maid Park last night. Livan Hernandez vs Brett Myers today at 2:05 pm EDT. That's 2:05 pm EDT. MASN 2 HD, MLB.tv, 106.7 The FAN in D.C., 1500 WFED, Sirius/XM ch. 185. Who's Watching The Nationals?

• LINKS AND LINKS AND...

• NATS BEAT: 

Support Your Nats...or Drinking Habit...

"But Duffy’s Irish Pub has found a way to make that first-half bust pay off now. During the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, you can order PBR tallboys, Buds and High Lifes for whatever Werth’s batting average is at the time." - "Drink Jayson’s Worth in Beer" - Matthew Stabley, NBC Washington

• "Wang made his first rehab appearance June 27, and he has only 30 days before the Nationals must either promote him to the 25-man roster or designate him for assignment." - "Nationals plan on bringing Chien-Ming Wang to majors by the end of July" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "The Nationals have been listening to offers for some of their veteran starting pitchers, with Jason Marquis - who's a free agent after the year - likely to draw the most interest." - "Where will Chien-Ming Wang fit in Nationals' rotation?" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• "'It’d mean a lot,' Nix said of possibly signing a major league deal. 'I have a lot of time [in the big leagues] and I believe in myself. I’d like for someone else to as well.'" - "Nationals' Laynce Nix makes the most of his chance" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "General manager Mike Rizzo said before Tuesday's game against the Astros that he doesn't know when Strasburg will throw another simulated game, but it will be in Florida." - "Strasburg remains on schedule" - Gene Duffy, nationals.com: News

• "Johnson said he’ll return to his usual lineup, with Bernadina first and Espinosa second, tomorrow. He dropped Bernadina because of the lefty..." - "Davey Johnson on the Nationals lineup" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Zimmermann had his shortest outing of the season, allowing six runs in five innings as the Nationals fell 7-6 to the Astros on Tuesday night." - "Nationals lose 7-6 to Astros" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• "[Jose] Altuve, 21, led the Minors with a combined batting average of .389 between Class A Lancaster and Double-A Corpus Christi." - "Washington Nationals at Houston Astros: Altuve debuts for Astros vs veteran Livan" - Jon Star, MLB.com Preview

• "I just heard that Nat Albright passed away last weekend. If the name's not familiar to you, then you're likely under 50, since Albright's heyday as a D.C.-area sportscaster was in the 1950s and 1960s." - "RIP to a real Nat" - Phil Wood, MASNSports.com

• "The official measurement was 385-feet -- a number that seemed more inclined to spare the feelings of 20-year-old Astros pitcher Jordan Lyles than it did to provide an accurate reading." - "Michael Morse's penchant for hitting inside and other notes from the Nationals 7-6 loss Tuesday night" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Washington Nationals fans certainly know what’s up. The Nats have had 21 games of 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1! Their games average just 7.85 runs. " - "With scoring down in baseball, teams learning to adjust" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "'My offspeed [pitch], I didn't know where it was going to go,' admitted Zimmermann. 'I just didn't have a good feel for much of anything.'" - "Washington Nationals at Houston Astros: Nationals see streak of win vs Astros end" - Gene Duffy, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "Instead of watching him breeze through the opponents’ lineup as his teammates struggled to muster enough offense to get him a win, the bats came alive and the right-hander struggled." - "Zimmermann knocked around in worst start of season as Nats lose 7-6 to Astros" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• NATS MINOR LEAGUES: 

Class-A Auburn: "With the bases loaded and nobody out in the ninth inning, the Doubledays were in prime position for their first come-from-behind win of the year." - "Ninth Inning Comeback Falls One Run Short" - Auburn Doubledays News

• Class-A Potomac: Destin Hood - 3 for 4, RBI; Olbrychowski - 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K's - Potomac Nationals Scoreboard

• "'I think I was trying to be too fine early on, especially 0-0,' [Adam] Olbrychowski said. 'And then I threw a lot of 1-0 pitches for strikes, especially off speed pitches, kind of changing speeds.'" - "P-Nats' Olbrychowski makes move from bullpen to starter; gains momentum" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

Double-A Harrisburg: "Shairon Martis pitched five scoreless innings before running into trouble in the sixth. He allowed a grand slam to Pedro Florimon with two-outs to tie the game." - "Martin Shuts Down Bowie in 5-4 Sens Win" - Terry Byrom, Harrisburg Senators News

• "The rough going at the plate continued Tuesday for Bryce Harper as he went 0-4 with a strikeout." - "Bryce Harper Sees Double-A Average Dip To .171 After Another Hitless Night In Harrisburg" - HarperMania.com

• "What does Harper’s slow start in Harrisburg mean for the future? For now, absolutely nothing." - "Bryce Harper’s early struggles in Harrisburg are nothing to worry about" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

Triple-A Syracuse: "Chien-Ming Wang made his first rehab start for the Chiefs, pitching five and two-thirds innings, allowing three runs on seven hits." - "Wang, Chiefs walk off winners in 12th" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "Wednesday’s News & Notes" - NationalsProspects.com

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "If we reserve ethical conduct for those whom we feel close to, we may neglect our responsibilities toward those outside this circle." - 

• NATSTOWN: 

• "And here is video of Todd Coffey making a Powerade cooler pay after he turned a one-run game into a two-run game..." - "When Todd Coffey attacks." - Nats Enquirer

• "Zimmermann left the game after the fifth, leaving with the most earned runs against (6) and fewest innings (5) in a start this season." - "GAME 97 REVIEW: Zimmermann Struggles; Nats Eventually Lose to Astros 7-6" - Tyler Radecki, Nats News Network

• "I have zero faith Wang will pitch well in the majors. Well... I guess it depends on what you mean by 'well'" - "Short and sweet" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "Well, Davey Johnson’s postgame interview following last night’s 7-6 loss to the Astros was certainly a departure from the norm we’ve grown accustomed to with previous managers." - "Davey Johnson is no coddler" - MissChatter : The Chatter Files

• "It means the worlds to those kids to get to spend even five minutes with a major league ballplayer. So here's what I propose: Why not spend some time with the transplant community?" - "A perfect fit for community-minded Nationals" - MASNSports.com Nationals Buzz: Rachel Levitin

• "The audacity! According to this article in the Business Journals, the Washington Nationals are the hardest professional team to support." - "Nats Hardest Team to Support?" - Keara Dowd, Win for Teddy

• "On July 4, 2009, many celebrated America's 233rd birthday by going to ballparks around the country. If you happened to be at Yankee Stadium that afternoon more than two years ago, you saw Chien-Ming Wang's last start to-date." - "When Wang Last Saw the Majors..." - Joe Drugan, Capitol Baseball

• "One of the mistakes Zimmermann made was giving up a two-run shot to Clint Barmes when he was one strike away from ending the inning, thus giving the Astros an early 2-0 lead." - "Nationals Show Fight, But Fall Short 7-6 In Houston" - Ted Youngling, The Nats Blog

NL EAST UPDATES: 

Marlins: "In case you haven’t noticed, teams are running wild on the Florida Marlins. And if the fish hope to make a serious run, they’ll need to do a better job of shutting down their opponents’ running game." - "San Diego Padres just the latest team to run wild on Florida Marlins" - Fish Tank blog: Florida Marlins" - Joe Capozzi, The Palm Beach Post

Mets: "'Best-case scenario, hopefully, I get a couple weeks in or a month,' [Ike] Davis said. 'But I would say the majority odds are I probably wouldn’t play this year.'" - "New York Mets 1B Ike Davis Tells Campers Injured Ankle 'Not Good'; Manager Terry Collins 'Surprised' At First Baseman's Comments In Freeport" - CBS New York

Mets/Phillies: "Within the last few days, the Carlos Beltran trade rumors have heated up, with most of the heat coming from chatter that both the Phillies and Braves are interested in him." - "To Trade With a Foe!" - Matthew Callan, Amazin' Avenue

Phillies: "Michael Martinez hit a tiebreaking two-run double with two out in the ninth inning, and the Phillies rallied to beat the Chicago Cubs 4-2 on Tuesday night." - "Martinez lifts Phillies over Cubs" - phillyBurbs.com

Braves: "Dan Uggla sent Ubaldo Jimenez's high slider into the seats. Then, he did the same with a high fastball from the hard-throwing right-hander." - "Uggla alone in solving Jimenez as Braves lose" - Arnie Stapleton, MiamiHerald.com