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Wire Taps: Nationals drop 2 of 3 to Braves, head to NY to face Mets Tuesday

Washington Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez wasn't at his best last night in Turner Field in the 3-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves, but one play in particular stuck in Nats fans' collective craw. If only Gio had gotten over to cover first in the fifth...

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

If Gio had gone right over to first this would have never have happened. [ed. note - "Hipster cred note: That's a 49-year-old Woody Woodpecker reference. +10 pts hipster cred for obscure cultural reference. The kids love those."] The Atlanta Braves scored an insurance run late, but the run they scored on a two-out, runners-on-first-and-third grounder to take the lead in the fifth inning in what was then a 1-1 game, was the big one. Gio Gonzalez hesitated for a moment, watching the play unfold, with Adam LaRoche lunging for the grounder off Jason Heyward's bat and coming up empty only to have it roll to Danny Espinosa, who fielded it on the right field grass but had no one to throw to at first. Gonzalez sprinted over to the bag, but the brief second he delayed cost him and the Nationals.

"'Ultimately, that's the difference in the game. If it's 1-1 there, we may have a different story. ... Ultimately, the lack of making that play is the difference.'" -QOTD: Matt Williams on Gio Gonzalez not covering first

LaRoche took some of the blame in his post game comments, telling reporters including NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman that he misjudged his ability to get to the ball.

"'I should’ve got a better read on the ball,'" LaRoche said, "'and obviously [Gonzalez] should have been over there. Just very typical of the way we give up runs against these guys.'"

Gonzalez too took the blame when he spoke to reporters, telling The Washington Post's James Wagner, "'I should’ve got over. Simple as that. There's no excuse. You gotta get over on that ball. Keep your team in the game.'"

Matt Williams, as quoted by MASNSports.com's Courtney Lofgren, said Gonzalez should have been over at first.

"'Ultimately, that's the difference in the game. If it's 1-1 there, we may have a different story. ... Ultimately, the lack of making that play is the difference.'"

If Gio had gone right to the police...

Woody Woodpecker: "Ah, shut up!"

Some post lunch time reading coming up, sorry, we took the morning off and finally quit trying to get this done last night around 3:30 AM... Links and lots of them. Starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "The Lerners won’t flinch about going to war in court, and won’t bat an eye about seemingly outrageous demands. And Angelos, as we know, has everything he owns — including the Orioles — because he is a litigator." - "Will Nats-Orioles MASN dispute keep All-Stars away?" - Thom Loverro, Washington Times

• NATS BEAT:

• "Overview: I'm delighted that this brawl is finally coming out into the open. And I'm glad that the Lerners have finally decided to stop waiting for Selig to act and gone to the heavier artillery." - "Ask Boswell: Redskins, Nationals and Washington sports" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "Souza reported feeling better on Saturday afternoon but still wasn’t sure if he was ready to swing a bat." - "Michael A. Taylor call-up official, Steven Souza Jr. to the DL (UPDATED)" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "This is the culmination of long-awaited journey for Taylor, the Nationals’ ninth-round pick in the 2009 draft." - "Nationals call up Michael Taylor, place Steven Souza Jr. on DL" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "According to manager Matt Williams, Souza couldn't swing a bat on Saturday, and he was sent to Washington on Sunday to get the shoulder checked out by the team doctor." - "Souza sent for MRI on ailing left shoulder" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "He possesses elite defensive ability, according to scouts. Back in spring training, Matt Williams said Taylor's defense rated as an 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale." - "Nationals Pastime: Nats recall Michael Taylor, place Souza on DL with left shoulder contusion" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The previous season started with then-Potomac hitting coach Mark Harris working on adjusting Taylor's approach..." - "Michael Taylor's measured ascension through minors sped up in 2014 (updated)" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "The Nationals, believe it or not, still lead the division by 3 1/2 games and still sit in a decidedly advantageous position in the big picture." - "Nationals miss, not squander, opportunity to separate from Braves" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "At first, Syracuse manager Billy Gardner Jr. told him that he wasn't playing because he didn't try hard enough to first base on a ground ball." - "Nats prospect Taylor excited for big league callup" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "The Nationals dropped two of the three games — by a combined three runs — and saw their division lead trimmed to 3 1/2 games." - "Leftover observations from the Nationals’ weekend in Atlanta" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "Particularly frustrated was Adam LaRoche, who entered red-hot for the month of August but wound up striking out four times, stranding five men on base in the process." - "Instant analysis: Braves 3, Nats 1" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "When he reached for the ball at the wall, his glove was up over his head and the exposed shoulder hit the wall." - "Jayson Werth is dealing with AC joint inflammation in right shoulder" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "Werth said he was diagnosed with inflammation of the AC joint, an injury that might have been triggered by a catch up against the wall August 1 in Washington." - "Jayson Werth trying to play through AC joint inflammation in shoulder" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Ultimately, that's the difference in the game. If it's 1-1 there, we may have a different story. ... Ultimately, the lack of making that play is the difference." - "Nationals Pastime: Williams on the Nats' 3-1 loss to Braves" - Courtney Lofgren, MASNSports.com

• "But their inability to grab the division by the throat, especially against the team chasing them, has been an unnerving trend." - "Nationals vs. Braves: Gio Gonzalez outdueled by Alex Wood as Washington falls in series finale, 3-1" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "Both Gonzalez and first baseman Adam LaRoche, whose lunging stab at the ball hit to his right came up short, took blame for the gaffe." - "Fundamental mistake dooms Nationals in 3-1 loss to Braves" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "For the third straight start, Gonzalez wasn't himself on the mound." - "Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves - August 10, 2014" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

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

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "Span’s batted-ball profile during the streak is a little different than the norms he established over the past season and a half." - "Span providing Nationals a big boost" - Mark Simon, Stats & Info Blog - ESPN

• "Let'€™s travel back to the end of June, when Harper hypothetically removed Denard Span from the lineup." - "Harper for Manager of the Year" - Gabe Kapler, FOX Sports

• "For what it's worth, Harper denied scuffing the logo on purpose." - "Bryce Harper drawing heat for scuffing Braves logo at Turner Field" - Mark Townsend, Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports

• "[deGrom] experienced shoulder soreness following his start on Thursday against the Nationals, in which he allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings." - "Washington Nationals at New York Mets - August 12, 2014" - Marla Torres, MLB.com Preview

• "It's a bit unusual for us to see a top prospect called up essentially straight from AA to the majors..." - "MLB Prospect Review: Michael Taylor, OF, Washington Nationals" - Jason Hunt, Fake Teams

• "Though he had already matched a career-high 114 pitches, Wood certainly deserved the chance to start the eighth..." - "Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves - August 10, 2014" - Mark Bowman, MLB.com ATL Recap

• "Walters did not do much (0-for-3 with a walk) in his debut with the Tribe, but Francona and the rest of the Cleveland brass are eager to be getting a first-hand look at the versatile player at the big league level." - "Walters makes debut with Indians in left field" - Jordan Bastian, indians.com: News

• "It looks like Zach Walters and Tyler Holt are going to be around for a while judging by the nature of the injuries to David Murphy and Nick Swisher." - "It's time to shine for Cleveland Indians' newcomers Zach Walters, Tyler Holt" - Paul Hoynes, cleveland.com

• "Caleb Clay was promoted to the Los Angeles Angels roster Sunday, marking his first-ever major league callup." - "Caleb Clay cracks Angels' roster, earns 1st MLB callup" - Rpb Ketcham, CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

• "The Tigers will call up left handed starting pitcher, Robbie Ray, from Triple-A Toledo to take the place of Anibal Sanchez, at least for the time being." - "Robbie Ray will replace Sanchez in Tigers' starting rotation, at least temporarily" - Patrick O'Kennedy, Bless You Boys

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Auburn:

Low-A Hagerstown: "The Suns will send RHP Lucas Giolito (8-2) to the mound for his 19th start and appearance of the year." - "Suns complete four-game sweep of Kannapolis" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News

High-A Potomac: "The Potomac Nationals and Salem Red Sox were rained out for the third consecutive day on Sunday afternoon." - "Series Sweep Goes To Rain, P-Nats And Red Sox PPD Again" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: "The Harrisburg Senators struggled again versus Binghamton pitching in a 3-0 loss on Sunday afternoon in front of 3,957 fans at Metro Bank Park." - "Simmons and Bullpen Not Enough for Senators" - Perry Mattern, Harrisburg Senators News

Triple-A Syracuse: "Right-hander A.J. Cole threw seven innings of one-run ball to keep the Chiefs at least one game up in the International League North." - "Cole, Chiefs ace Bats on Sunday" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "The Washington Nationals today placed outfielder Steven Souza Jr. on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder contusion and recalled outfielder Michael A. Taylor from Syracuse." - "Washington Nationals put Steven Souza Jr. on DL, recall Michael Taylor from Syracuse Chiefs" - Lindsay Kramer, syracuse.com

• "He's very athletic, with above-average speed, a strong throwing arm, and exceptional outfield instincts." - "Washington Nationals promote prospect Michael Taylor" - John Sickels, Minor League Ball

• "THE Official Midseason Washington Nationals Top Prospect Rankings" - Ryan Sullivan, NatsGM

• NATSTOWN:

• "After the marathon game Saturday night, including a nearly four-hour rain delay then extra innings, the Washington Nationals could have used a crisp, clean outing from starter Gio Gonzalez." - "Washington Nationals Game 116 Review: Gio shaky, offense absent in Sunday night loss to Braves" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "At 111 pitches, Gonzalez was pulled after a strange outing that might have seemed better with more offensive support." - "Weak Bats Send Nats To Series Loss in Atlanta" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "Monday Quickie : On the Job Training" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• NL EAST UPDATE:

Marlins: "Even with Jarred Cosart and Henderson Alvarez scheduled to rejoin the rotation this week, Penny will remain in the rotation — at least for the time being." - "CINCINNATI: Brad Penny’s win brings back fond memories for ex-Marlins manager Jack McKeon" - Clark Spencer, MiamiHerald.com

Braves: "Teheran is 10-8 with a 2.92 ERA on the season. He had success when he last faced the Dodgers, on July 31..." - "Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves - August 11, 2014" - Caitlin Swieca, MLB.com Preview

Phillies: "Two of the worst pitching staffs in baseball jettisoned Jerome Williams this season, but the veteran righthander has found a new home with the pitching-starved Phillies." - "Phillies Notes: Phillies add journeyman Jerome Williams, who could start Tuesday" - Matt Gelb, Philadelphia Inquirer

Mets:"Rookie sensation Jacob deGrom is experiencing shoulder soreness and will undergo an MRI in New York today." - "Mets' Jacob deGrom to undergo testing due to shoulder soreness" - Matt Ehalt, NorthJersey.com