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Wire Taps: Nationals' catcher Wilson Ramos bunts, Madison Bumgarner's E, NLDS Game 4

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The Washington Nationals avoided elimination with a 4-1 win in AT&T Park, now they have to do it again. Can the Nats beat the San Francisco Giants in back-to-back games on the road and even the best-of-five series up? Gio Gonzalez's turn tonight...

Ezra Shaw

If you don't know when the last time Wilson Ramos was asked to drop a sac bunt down by now, you will before you get to the end of today's links.

Yes, the Washington Nationals' catcher's attempt at a sac bunt with runners on first and second base in the seventh that turned into two runs when San Francisco Giants' starter Madison Bumgarner fielded it and made an ill-advised and errant throw to third was the Nats' catcher's first sac bunt attempt since...

"It's such an intense game, and I know they want to get that out at third base but they probably tried to do a little too much there." -Bruce Bochy on Giants' seventh inning error

Ah, you can read it a few times below...

Asked about the play that broke things open last night in a tense Game 3 of the NLDS, Giants' skipper Bruce Bochy said he wasn't "shocked" by the rare mistake by his team.

"I don't know if shock's the word," Bochy said. "It's such an intense game, and I know they want to get that out at third base but they probably tried to do a little too much there. They played so well, these type games. We made a mistake. We've got to learn from it.

"But, you know, got to move on. But you're not shocked by it, no. The worst thing was not just going to third, but Bum said it, he threw it away. He makes a good throw, we still may have a good play at first base, if he doesn't throw it away."

As Bochy pointed out though, it wasn't just a reaction play by Bumgarner, Giants' catcher Buster Posey played a part too.

"I think Buster was helping him out," Bochy told reporters. "And like I said, I'm sure they want it back. Can't take it back. Hey, it happened and you move on."

The Nationals move on to tonight's Game 4 of the NLDS too, having survived one must-win matchup with the Giants. Can the Nationals win again to send the series back to D.C.? We'll find out at 9:00 PM tonight. Until then, some lunchtime reading. Links and lots of them... starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "The Giants were 58-44 when facing right-handed starters during the regular season, compared to 30-30 against lefties." - "Gio approaches Giants from a different angle" - Paul Hagen, nationals.com

• NATS BEAT:

• "Although the inning started rough, Storen showed composure by regrouping and getting the final three outs in a win-or-go-home game." - "Drew Storen overcomes shaky beginning to ninth inning to close out NLDS Game 3" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "Fister ended his afternoon after seven innings, surrendering no runs, striking out three and allowing just four hits. He threw 99 pitches, 64 for strikes." - "Nationals Pastime: Fister dominates Giants to keep Nationals' playoff hopes alive" - Olivia Witherite, MASNSports.com

• "Two days had passed since Drew Storen blew the second saveopportunity of his playoff career, turning a nine-inning victory into an 18-inning defeat." - "Drew Storen works through bumpy ninth-inning to seal Nationals' Game 3 victory" - Tom Schad, Washington Times

• "The bunt sign was still on. Ramos said to himself, 'Willie, you have to do it, you have to do it.'" - "Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants - October 6, 2014" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "Two years ago, in the Nationals’ first postseason appearance, Gonzalez was the Game 1 starter. He was a 21-game winner that season..." - "Gio Gonzalez readies for NLDS Game 4 start" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "Whether enough momentum shifted in that moment to turn the entire series in the Nationals’ direction remains to be seen. They still trail two games to one..." - "Nats take advantage of break to keep season alive" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Nationals bullpen coach Matt LeCroy will turn to a superstition that has proved successful this season: He will make himself a banana-mayo sandwich before first pitch and eat it." - "Matt LeCroy will eat his superstitious banana-mayo sandwich before NLDS Game 3" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "Ramos had not been asked to bunt in three years. Not since 2011, when Jim Riggleman was managing the Nationals, had he attempted a sacrifice." - "Wilson Ramos’ unlikely bunt may have saved the Nationals’ season" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Ramos had dropped down just four sac bunts in his career coming into today. The last one came in 2011." - "Nationals Pastime: Nats live to see another day with 4-1 win in Game 3" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Fister, paired against the ace of the Giants' staff, Madison Bumgarner, gave the Nats precisely what they needed, which in this case was seven shutout innings." - "Fister owned Game 3 with seven scoreless innings" - Mike Bauman, SportsonEarth.com : Mike Bauman Article

• "'You need to bunt until I wipe off the sign,' Bobby Henley told him." - "Doug Fister pitches seven scoreless innings as Nationals rally to beat Giants in NLDS Game 3" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "A scoreless game turned into a 3-0 Nats lead in what felt like an instant. And in the visitors' dugout, a feeling of confidence swept over the players." - "Nationals Pastime: The break they've been waiting for" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Although the inning started rough, Storen showed composure by regrouping and getting the final three outs in a win-or-go-home game." - "Drew Storen overcomes shaky beginning to ninth inning to close out NLDS Game 3" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "In addition to taking away multiple runs from the Giants, Harper also crossed home plate twice." - "Harper complements slugging with defense" - Aaron Leibowitz, Nationals.com

• "Well, we can put one possible story line to bed: There will be no sitting Bryce Harper in favor of Ryan Zimmerman in the National League Division Series." - "Bryce Harper’s defense helps key the Nationals’ victory" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "Say this about Nationals manager Matt Williams: He's immensely even-keeled regardless of the situation." - "Nationals Pastime: Hearing from Williams after Nats' win in NLDS Game 3" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com

• "'We were all just waiting for a break,' Nats closer Drew Storen said. 'I've been saying all along, we just need one little break.'" - "'Three!' not magic number for Giants as Nats get break" - Anthony DiComo, nationals.com

• "Williams didn’t think that would give his team any better chance of winning the game, not only at the plate but in the field, where Zimmerman would be a downgrade." - "Ryan Zimmerman remains on Nationals’ bench for Game 3 of NLDS" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "You never want to wake up a sleeping giant, even if you are the Giants." - "Madison Bumgarner throws Nationals a bone(-headed gift) in Game 3" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

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

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "So apparently, the Giants are indeed allowed to lose a playoff game. It's in the rule book." - "Giants stray from postseason script" - Mark Purdy, San Jose Mercury News

•  "The Year in Multi-Run Bunts" - Jeff Sullivan, FanGraphs Baseball

• "Make Game 1 starter Stephen Strasburg available out of the bullpen for Game 4, then — after Game 4 has been won — tab Game 2 starter Jordan Zimmermann for Game 5." - "Division Series schedule benefits Nationals pitching staff" - Ken Davidoff, New York Post

• "The streak ended Monday on one of the most rudimentary plays a defense practices, over and over in spring training, which only added to the sense of disbelief." - "Error costly as Nationals prevent Giants’ sweep" - Henry Schulman, SFGate

• "As Giants players showered, changed and went home, still leading 2-1 in the series, still hopeful to punch their ticket to the NLCS in front of their home crowd, they had a similar refrain." - "With their offense faltering, Giants looking forward to 'tomorrow'" - Mike Oz, Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports

• "The San Francisco Giants built a 10-game postseason streak, the longest ever by a National League team, on a foundation of standout pitching, solid fielding and clutch hitting." - "Giants need to be perfect, and this time, they weren't" - Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY Sports

• "For six innings, Madison Bumgarner and Doug Fister traded zeroes. Bummer was a bit more dominant, running the fastball up to 95 mph as he continued to pump playoff adrenaline..." - "Playoff Prospectus: NLDS Game Three Recap: The Bunt Heard 'Round the World" - Doug Thorburn, Baseball Prospectus

• "Ryan Vogelsong couldn't hide the disappointment after his final start of the regular season. His headshakes were numerous, and his tone subdued." - "Vogelsong aims to pitch Giants into NLCS" - Ryan Hood, sfgiants.com

• "But a day that started with unbridled optimism — and at lot of people playing hooky from work — ended with a loss and all eyes focused on Tuesday’s Game 4." - "No sweep, no celebration for Giants fans" - Libby Rainey and Kurtis Alexander, SFGate

• "LaRoche is an interesting name; it's expected the Nationals will decline his $15 million option and move Ryan Zimmerman to first base. He's getting up there in age but hits homers as a lefty and is also solid defensively." - "Todd Rosiak Brewers chat" - Todd Rosiak, JSOnline

• "Given their thin starting rotation, they enter Game 4 at a disadvantage, at least on paper." - "Madison Bumgarner's 'boner' and a stronger loving world to die in" - Steven Goldman, SBNation.com

• "The Washington Nationals slipped the noose, for a day anyway." - "Funny Thing Happened on the Way to a Quick Demise" - Michael Powell, NYTimes.com

• "Wilson Ramos bunts twice at the start of every batting practice session. Most hitters do this, but it does not make them bunters." - "Rare Bunt Adds Life to Nationals’ Season" - Tyler Kepner, NYTimes.com

• "Befitting two teams that took 18 innings to score three stinkin' runs on Saturday night, Game 3 between the Giants and Nationals was a pitcher's duel, for six innings at least. And when the game broke wide open it was mostly due to error, not solid hitting." - "Madison Bumgarner's Pivotal Error Gives Nationals Game 3 Over Giants" - Kevin Draper, Deadspin

• "It was a great two-strike bunt by Ramos, who hadn't had a sacrifice bunt since 2011, in the seventh inning, but a bad decision by Bumgarner and catcher Buster Posey to try for the lead runner at third base." - "Underrated Doug Fister keeps Nats alive" - David Schoenfield, SweetSpot Blog - ESPN

• "Trainers checked on Sandoval, who initially remained on the ground, but he said after the game that he isn't injured..." - "Panda has eventful Game 3, good and bad" - Ryan Hood, sfgiants.com

• NATSTOWN:

• "'Second-guessing, that’s for television,' Rizzo told ABC 7′s Horace Holmes at San Francisco’s AT&T Park on Sunday. 'We live in the baseball world and there’s no second-guessing in this clubhouse.'" - "Nats GM Mike Rizzo says second-guessing is for television" - Scott Allen, The Washington Post

• "The pitching matchup came off as advertised. Fister took on 18-game winner Madison Bumgarner and both pitchers were sublime for most of the game." - "Washington Nationals NLDS Game 3 Review: Fister, 3-run seventh give Nats another shot" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "Would you have pulled Fister?" - Todd Boss, Nationals Arm Race

• "With their backs against the wall, Washington broke out of a series long scoring drought, scoring three times in the top of the seventh inning..." - "Nats Live Another Day!" - Tom Blaz, DC Pro Sports Report

• "NLDS game 3: Fister keeps Nats’ hopes alive" - Nat Anacostia, Nats Noodles

• "NLDS Game 3: Nats 4 SF GIANTS 1" - William F. Yurasko, William World News

• "Best streak ended: The Giants had won 10 consecutive postseason games." - "Best and worst from Nationals-Giants, NLDS Game 3" - Scott Allen, The Washington Post

• "And so, Doug Fister and Bryce Harper were brilliant and spectacular in no particular order for NLDS Game 3 Monday night in SF. So they get a pass for their clashing fashion statements during their postgame presser..." - "Doug Fister and Bryce Harper did not coordinate their outfits for NLDS Game 3 postgame presser" - Nats Enquirer

• "As much as we'd like to read into yesterday's win that the Nats turned a corner that's just not the truth." - "Comeback Game #2" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "The Nationals Review Podcast Episode 38" - The Nationals Review

• "Emotions during an elimination playoff game are decidedly different than any other game." - "Elimination Games Are Brutal, Let’s Watch Another Tomorrow" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "Daniel Murphy has been one of the few sources of certainty for the Mets in recent seasons and 2014 was no exception." - "2014 Mets Season Review: Daniel Murphy" - Michael Avallone, Amazin' Avenue

Marlins: "Eovaldi posted an even strikeout rate compared to last year, which was clearly a success for Miami. At the same time, he dropped his walk rate from 8.9 percent to 5.0 percent." - "2014 Marlins Season Review: Nathan Eovadi's confusing season" - Michael Jong, Fish Stripes

Braves: "Though Hart has impressed members of the organization with the dedication he has shown since Frank Wren was dismissed on Sept. 22, he has not provided an indication that he is willing to assume the GM role on a full-time basis." - "Amidst GM search, Braves start reshaping front office" - Mark Bowman, braves.com

Phillies: "To some, Ruiz was a microcosm of the modus operandi that has doomed the Phillies over the last five years..." - "2014 Phillies Report Card: Carlos Ruiz" - Bill Baer, Crashburn Alley