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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals And San Francisco Giants Start Three-Game Set In Nats Park.

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Jun 16, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (27) throws in the fourth inning against the New York Yankees at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE
Jun 16, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (27) throws in the fourth inning against the New York Yankees at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

Jordan Zimmermann is coming off a 7.0-inning outing in Coors Field in which the 26-year-old right-hander held the Colorado Rockies to a run on eight hits in an 11-5 Nats' win, earning his first curly-W since a May 22nd win over the Philadelphia Phillies. 28-year-old Giants' right-hander Tim Lincecum threw 7.0 scoreless in his last start, holding the LA Dodgers to four hits and two walks in a 3-0 win at home in San Francisco. It was the second of back-to-back wins for the two-time Cy Young Award-winner, who'd lost six straight with the Giants 0-9 with the 5'11'' starter on the mound in his previous nine outings. The two starters meet tonight in Nationals Park as the Nats and Giants open up a three-game series in the nation's capital. The Nationals are coming off a 5-5 road trip that left them 45-32 overall, in first place in the NL East. San Francisco went 5-2 on their most-recent homestand, leaving them 45-35, in first place in the NL West with a 1.5 game lead over the Dodgers. The game starts at 6:35 pm EDT (for some reason). Two first place teams. Two hard-throwing right-handers. Baseball is back in the nation's capital. Tonight... for now... LINKS!!! RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!:

• "In '10 and '11 lots of people wanted to bury [Ian] Desmond, move [Danny] Espinosa to SS. The Nats never doubted Desmond's talent or temperament. Right now, they feel pretty much the same way about Espinosa." - "Ask Boswell about all things Washington sports" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "Should fan appeal and career achievement be factors into selections for the All-Star Game?" - "SNYDER: Status carries more weight than stats in All-Star selections" - Deron Snyder, Washington Times

• "[Bryce] Harper wants to be an All-Star. He allowed himself to think about the possibility a few weeks ago, before his numbers slipped..." - "If it were up to Harper, Chipper would make NL All-Star team" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Should [Bryce] Harper make the All-Star team, it would be a massive accomplishment, given his age and limited time in the big leagues." - "Nationals Pastime: An interesting question regarding Harper's possible All-Star inclusion (updated)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "In his 250 plate appearances this season, [Bryce] Harper has been thrown a fastball 46.3 percent of the time, the third-lowest rate in the majors." - "Bryce Harper is not getting many fastballs or strikes to hit" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "But if the Nationals were to be overtaken in the NL East, which team would be most likely to do it? Who should the Nats most fear in their division?" - "Who could upend Nats in East?" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Since assuming the Nats' closer role on May 22, the 27-year-old reliever [Tyler Clippard] has converted each of his 13 save chances, while working 15 1/3 scoreless innings." - "Clippard named MLB Delivery Man of the Month" - Paul Casella, nationals.com: News

• "The Nationals are unlikely to make any high-profile (read: expensive) international signings today, the opening of the international signing period." - "Nationals quiet on first day of international signing period" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "[Bryce] Harper wants to be an All-Star. He allowed himself to think about the possibility a few weeks ago, before his numbers slipped..." - "If it were up to Harper, Chipper would make NL All-Star team" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "The Nationals' new closer went 10-for-10 in save opportunities during June, holding opponents scoreless over 11 2/3 innings." - "Nationals Pastime: Clippard named MLB's top relief pitcher for June" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Bryce] Harper, the 2010 No. 1 overall Draft pick, tore through the Minor Leagues before making his Major League debut on April 28." - "Orioles, Nationals team up with 'Beltways Ballot' to push All-Star Final Vote candidates Jason Hammel and Bryce Harper" - Brittany Ghiroli, nationals.com: News

• "After converting all 10 of his save opportunities in June, Clippard was named the Delivery Man of the month by Major League Baseball." - "Tyler Clippard named MLB Delivery Man of the month" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Within the National League race for the All-Star Final Vote is a choice between two of the most compelling candidates in the history of this election." - "Mike Bauman: National League All-Star Final Vote one for the ages" - Michael Bauman, nationals.com: News

• "The starter who leads the Nationals’ rotation in both ERA and innings is not one of the two going to the All-Star Game." - "Jordan Zimmermann not one of the Nationals’ all-star pitchers, but still one of their best" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "Kindness and a good heart are the underlying foundation for success in this life and making progress on the spiritual path."

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Short Season Auburn: "The Auburn Doubledays (10-5) limited the Jamestown Jammers (5-10) to three hits on Monday night, en route to a 2-1 win at Russell Diethrick Park." - "Doubledays win pitchers duel 2-1 over Jammers" -Auburn Doubledays News

Class-A Hagerstown: Suns 10, BlueClaws 11 - Steven Souza - 3 for 5, 1 2B, 2 HR's; Taylor Hill - 4.1 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 5 K's - Hagerstown Suns Scoreboard

Class-A Potomac: P-Nats 1, Mudcats 11 - Rick Hague - 1 for 4, 1 3B; Trevor Holder - 5.1 IP, 12 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 1 BB, 6 K's, 2 HR's - Potomac Nationals Scoreboard

Double-A Harrisburg: Senators 8, SeaWolves 5 - Jeff Kobernus - 3 for 4; Paul Demny - 6.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 8 K's, 2 HR's - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

Triple-A Syracuse: "The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, were done in by Nate McLouth's walkoff home run in a 5-4 loss to the Norfolk Tides on Monday night." - "Walkoff home run leads Tides past Chiefs" - Syracuse Chiefs News

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

• NATSTOWN:

Bryce Harper's Super PAC's First Video: "How Did Chipper Get That Nickname Anyway?" - The Zimmerman(n) Telegram

• "It's July 3, and the Nats are still in first place. And with every passing day, the crazy talk doesn't seem so crazy. Pinch me." - "Pinch Me..." - Nats Enquirer

• "July 3, 1913 - Boston racks 15 hits off Walter Johnson, but the Big Train does not yield a single run." - "This Date in Washington Senators History – ’23 Senators’ whip up on the Red Sox 11-0." - Art Audley, D.C. Baseball History

• "Nats all-star review (2012 edition)" - Todd Boss, Nationals Arm Race

• "You probably have noticed how much better Ryan Zimmerman has played he was given a cortizone shot in his ailing shoulder." - "A Shot and Some Time" - The Nationals Review

• "After too long without a guest prognosticator, the series returns with my friend David, a native-Washingtonian living in San Francisco." - "2012 Nats vs. Giants Q&A and prediction with my friend David" - William F. Yurasko, William World News

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "With six games remaining before most of the Mets take a short summer vacation, Thole said it won’t be enough just to have a winning week against the struggling Phillies and Cubs." - "New York Mets want 5-1 homestand against always-dangerous Philadelphia Phillies and also Chicago Cubs to take momentum into All-Star break" - Mike Puma, NYPOST.com

Braves: "No one realistically expects [Ben] Sheets, who’ll be 34 this month, to be the overpowering game-changing type of pitcher he was in his Milwaukee heyday." - "Braves are trying to fix pitching, but what of the offense?" - David O'Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Phillies: "Ryan Howard has deliberately followed the plan, one that has called for careful and slow progressions." - "Ryan Howard's progressions" - Matt Gelb, Philly.com

Marlins: "Pinch-hitter Norichika Aoki executed a beautiful safety squeeze to bring home the decisive run in the 6-5 Brewers win, their ninth in a row against the Marlins." - "Eighth is enough for Brewers to edge Marlins" - Juan C. Rodriguez, South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com