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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Remain Undefeated At Home; Jordan Zimmermann Continues Streak...

The Washington Nationals beat the Chicago White Sox last night to guarantee a series win and they play one more tonight looking for... another win. Dan Haren makes his second start of the year in Nats Park at 7:05 pm EST, pitching in front of the D.C. Faithful for the first time this season...

Rob Carr

So... the link post is a little bit late today. [checks watch] OK, so it's really late, we usually try have it up by 11:00 so it's all last night's news and everyone's morning posts, but there's a good reason for that. [ed. note - "Imagines people out there saying, 'There had better be one!!'] We stayed up last night to listen to Jordan Zimmermann on MLB Network Radio somewhere around midnight or a little later, a few hours after he'd just beaten the Chicago White Sox in the second game of three Interleague games in the nation's capital this week. The win left the Nats 5-0 at home so far this year, and the Nats' 26-year-old right-hander extended a streak of his own in the outing:

Zimmermann went seven innings on 90 pitches in last night's win, giving up seven hits and two earned runs while striking out four, walking no one and inducing 10 ground ball outs from the 26 batters he faced. Davey Johnson was impressed with the starter's outing. Zimmermann said he felt good on the mound in a warm Nationals Park. "I had a really good fastball tonight," the right-hander said, "And we kind of just stuck with that. I was moving it in and out and I was throwing it up and in to the righties and lefties, and for the most part -- I don't know how many we threw, but it seemed like quite a few fastballs, and I mixed in some offspeed, some changeups when I needed to."

In addition to the nice weather, the home crowd made a difference for the Nats' starter. "A few years ago we'd have home games and it would feel like we'd be playing on the road. We had no fans coming and now all of a sudden we have 25, 30, 35,000 coming to every game, so it definitely helps out. They're on their feet screaming and hollering and it gets the adrenaline going." Now if only they'd stop doing the wave!! Zimmermann didn't say that. [I did.]

As for the "early" exit after 90 pitches and seven innings, Zimmermann didn't seem to have any problem with Davey Johnson's decision. "We had a couple of starts down in Spring Training towards the end where we threw 85-90 pitches, and my first outing I threw 90-91, I think, [ed. note - "89."] and it's still early and you don't want to jump out and throw 110 and have something go wrong, so I think we're taking it slow and hopefully by the end of the year I can get out there and throw 115, 120 and he'll let me go a little longer."

Put down your pitchforks, Davey questioners. At least for now. And now on to the links, later than usual, but still informative and they start... RIGHT NOW!!!:


• "The Nationals’ major offseason desire was to cure what had long ailed them – a lack of a leadoff hitter and center fielder..." - "Nationals vs. Braves: Which outfield will prevail?" - Barry Svrluga, The Washington Post


• "The balls came screaming back at Jordan Zimmermann, almost with as much speed as he’d fired them at Kurt Suzuki’s target seconds earlier." - "Jordan Zimmermann leads Nationals over White Sox to earn series victory" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Leading off the bottom of the fourth, Harper took the first pitch he saw from White Sox starter Gavin Floyd - an 86 mph cutter - and smoked it into the second deck in right field." - "Nationals Pastime: Harper visits the second deck (that's all for Zimmermann)" - Dan Kolko,

• "[Jordan] Zimmermann labored a bit through the top of the first, giving up an early run, but he settled into a nice groove after that and seemed to get stronger as his evening progressed." - "Instant analysis: Nats 5, White Sox 2" - Mark Zuckerman,

• "'There’s no real way to go through our lineup and relax at all,' [Ian] Desmond said." - "Nats remain perfect at home with 5-2 win over Chicago" - Brian McNally,

• "Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond had his best game of the season Wednesday, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored, two doubles and a triple in a 5-2 victory against the White Sox." - "Desmond delivers best game of young season" - Bill Ladson, News

• "Drew Storen pitched the eighth, and closer Rafael Soriano worked around a hit in the ninth for his fourth save in five chances." - "Harper, Desmond lead Nationals over White Sox 5-2" - Howard Fendrich,

• "As he sat in the visitors’ dugout at Nationals Park for two games, White Sox Manager Robin Ventura gained an appreciated for the totality of the Nationals lineup." - "Danny Espinosa’s new attitude, Ian Desmond’s hot streak lift the Nationals" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Since 2007, 12.6 percent of [Jayson] Werth’s at-bats have resulted in a walk." - "Aggressive approach paying off for Nationals' Werth" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'I've been stuck in traffic many a time here in D.C.,' [Ian] Desmond said. 'I'm surprised they got here as fast as they did. It's always an adventure.'" - "Nationals Pastime: Hearing from Desmond and Harper" - Dan Kolko,

• "Seven games into the season, [Denard] Span is not only getting on base. He's really making pitchers work before he gets on base." - "Span's patience paying dividends for Nats" - Mark Zuckerman, CSN Washington

• "'We threw a lot of fastballs inside,' said [Jordan] Zimmermann, who is 7-0 with a 2.91 ERA in his last 13 home starts, 'and got a lot of broken bats.'" - "Another close one: White Sox lose to Nationals 5-2" - Howard Fendrich, AP/

• "White Sox manager Robin Ventura decided to switch his club's rotation order this week, giving Dylan Axelrod the nod for Thursday's finale in place of Jose Quintana." - "Chicago White Sox at Washington Nationals - April 11, 2013" - Gary Cotton, Preview

• "'It’s really easy to say now because everything’s coming together, but you kind of knew it would,' said Dunn.'" - "Adam Dunn: Nationals’ future is now" - Jason Reid, The Washington Post

• "But Wednesday night, it was shortstop Ian Desmond and second baseman Danny Espinosa who were a combined 5-for-8 with three runs, two RBI and four extra-base hits." - "Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa are heating up" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "The baseball makes a different sound when it has the misfortune of colliding with the barrel of Bryce Harper’s bat." - "Nationals vs. White Sox: Bryce Harper’s home run backs Zimmermann’s start as Washington earns 5-2 win" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• One More Time?:

• "Apparently, the Nationals experienced some technical difficulties during last night's game when the video system they use to track pitches and locations in real time went down." - "Nationals Pastime: Johnson on bullpen struggles, plus Garcia and Kimball updates" - Dan Kolko,

• "Shut down early by White Sox right-hander Gavin Floyd, the Nationals' lineup finally exploded during the game's middle innings..." - "Delayed start only delays another Nats win" - Mark Zuckerman, CSN Washington

• "[Jake] Peavy said Wednesday he admired how Strasburg has handled the hype and the innings limit that curtailed the right-hander's season last year." - "Strasburg impresses old friend Peavy" - Bill Ladson, News

• "In his last two outings, Soriano has stuck primarily to his fastball. Unlike his first two saves of the season in which his stuff was sharper and fastball moved dramatically, Soriano’s stuff has been flat." - "Rafael Soriano on his recent shaky outings, how to improve" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "Searching for a fresh take on the Nats' fourth starter, I talked with pitching coach Steve McCatty for a few minutes yesterday..." - "Nationals Pastime: McCatty provides a fresh perspective on Haren" - Dan Kolko,

• "But pitching coach Steve McCatty isn't worried about the bullpen and feels it will get its act together soon." - "McCatty unconcerned with early 'pen struggles" - Bill Ladson, News

• "[Jayson] Werth has compared hitting behind Nats leadoff hitter Denard Span to when he used to follow Jimmy Rollins..." - "New Nats lineup looks familiar to Werth" - Mark Zuckerman,

• "Shortstop Ian Desmond rolled to another big day at the plate in Wednesday's 5-2 Nationals win over the White Sox. Desmond went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a triple, scoring two runs." - "Desmond erasing memories of early-season errors with extra-base hits" - Byron Kerr,

• "Thursday night against Chicago, [Dan] Haren will have a second chance to make a first impression." - "Dan Haren will get a second chance to make an impression with the Nationals" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Bryce Harper homered -- again -- to lead off the fourth inning and spark a nine-hit, five-run spree over the next three frames." - "Chicago White Sox at Washington Nationals - April 10, 2013" - Tom Schad, WSH Recap

• "This is not a mistake. [Denard] Span consciously tries to work the opposing starter more during his first look in order to learn about what he’s throwing, for both himself and his teammates." - "Denard Span tries to be most selective at the start" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post


• "Now the White Sox--who have had trouble scoring, too--send Dylan Axelrod to the mound on Thursday against Dan Haren in an attempt to avoid a series sweep." - "White Sox drop second straight to Nationals" - Dan Hayes, CSN Chicago

• "Umpires, they're not having the greatest week." - "Nationals-White Sox game delayed because umpires were stuck in traffic" - Mike Oz, Big League Stew - Yahoo! Sports

• "Many believed the Washington Nationals' star-studded rotation would become all the more formidable with Dan Haren on board." - "Chicago White Sox vs. Washington Nationals - Preview - April 11, 2013" - ESPN Chicago

• "Some Washington National fans have taken a step forward in protesting The Wave." - "Some Washington Nationals fans really, really want people to stop doing The Wave" - Mike Oz, Big League Stew - Yahoo! Sports


Class-A Hagerstown: "RHP Blake Schwartz (2-0) got the win for the Suns in his first start of the season. He lasted five innings, giving up just two hits while striking out six." - "Suns blank BlueClaws 6-0" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News

Class-A Potomac: "LHP Robbie Ray (1-1), the eventual tough luck losing pitcher, tossed a quality start going 6.0 innings in which he allowed three runs, only two earned, on five hits, while striking out seven." - "Despite Ray's Quality Start, P-Nats Drop Rubber Match to Salem 7-2" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: New Britain 17; Harrisburg 5 - Anthony Rendon - 1 for 5, Double; Blake Treinen - 5.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER - Scoreboard

• "Double-A Harrisburg's Anthony Rendon played second base yesterday, and will play third base, his natural position, tonight. The switching of infield positions serves an intended purpose." - "Nationals rotating Rendon between three infield spots in Harrisburg" - Byron Kerr,

• "Thursday’s News & Notes" - Luke Erickson,


• "The audio’s kind of hard to hear because of background noise, but the theme music is unmistakable to fans of the show." - "Jayson Werth using ‘Game of Thrones’ theme as walk-up music" - Dan Steinberg, Washington Post

• "Baseball fans have been waiting for the restaurants and bars to open around Nationals Park far longer than they've waited for the season to come back around." - "Brew and a bite before the Nats game: What's open at Navy Yard" - Megan Cloherty,

• "The Nats offense looked to struggle through the first three innings, mustering just one hit. Bryce Harper, as has been his way this season, brought the offense to life to lead off the fourth." - "Nationals Remain Perfect At Home Behind Zimmermann, Harper, And Others" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "Jordan Zimmermann smiled one time during an April 2012 postgame interview." - "Jordan Zimmermann smiles, possibly tells joke, during postgame interview" - Nats Enquirer

• "Video: George wins again, but who is Abe paying off?" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "Bryce Harper broke his bat on his back last night" - Nats Enquirer

• "I understood why [Davey] Johnson pulled Strasburg on Opening Day, until he didn't pull him in the 114 pitch outing against Cincinnati on April 7..." - "Pitching Management Is A Point Of Concern Early In 2013" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "Just saying" - Harper, Nationals Baseball


Marlins: "Fueled by a six-run fifth inning and another strong start from left-hander Mike Minor, the first-place Braves kept the Marlins’ misery going, rolling to an 8-0 victory in front of an announced crowd of 13,810 — the smallest in Marlins Park’s brief history." - "Miami Marlins swept by Atlanta Braves in front of record-low crowd" - Manny Navarro,

Mets: "The Mets, who went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, had a major scoring opportunity spoiled in the fifth when Daniel Murphy was doubled off second with the Phillies leading, 5-2." - "Daniel Murphy baserunning gaffe dooms rally, Jeremy Hefner gets roughed up as NY Mets suffer another blowout loss to Philadelphia Phillies" - Kristie Ackert, NY Daily News

Phillies: "Nothing triggers gross overreaction and total amnesia more than a bad start to the baseball season." - "Inside the Phillies: Phillies have shown that slow start is no reason to panic" - Bob Brookover, Philadelphia Inquirer

Braves: "Well, it’s not a quarterback controversy or anything. You’ve got to do it. He fits in that No. 4 hole until [Freddie] Freeman gets back or [Brian] McCann gets back." - Fredi Gonzalez on Evan Gattis hitting 4th - "Braves quotes after sweep at Miami" - David O'Brien,