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Wire Taps: Can Nationals' starter Stephen Strasburg bounce back against Reds

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Washington Nationals' starter Stephen Strasburg's previous outing was a brief one, but Nats' skipper Matt Williams said afterwards he thought the right-hander could snap out of his rough stretch at any moment. Can he turn things around against the Reds?

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Matt Williams told reporters after Stephen Strasburg's last start that he wasn't concerned about the rough stretch the 26-year-old Washington Nationals' starter is going through right now. "We're not concerned," he said. "He's one of our guys. He's been one of our guys and he'll continue to be one of our guys.

"He's going through a rough stretch, doesn't mean he can't come out of it his next start and be absolutely dominant. He has that capability every time he walks on the mound.

"He's going through a rough stretch, doesn't mean he can't come out of it his next start and be absolutely dominant." -Matt Williams on Stephen Strasburg

"He'll work hard till the next one and be ready to go. I'm not concerned about it. Everybody has issues sometimes and has a mini-slump, so the next opportunity for him is five days from now and you never know what might happen there, he may be really good."

That fifth day is here and Strasburg will take the mound tonight in Cincinnati, Ohio's Great American Ball Park in the first game of the Nats' three-game set with the Reds.

After Strasburg's 3 ⅔-inning outing against the Philadelphia Phillies, Williams talked about the fact that Strasburg didn't back up home on a few plays during the game.

Asked the next day if he'd spoken to the right-hander, Williams said simply, "It's been addressed, yeah."

So what will the Nationals get out of the 2010 no.1 overall pick this time out? He hasn't made it out of the sixth since April 25th in Miami. Can he start to turn things around tonight? While you wait for those answers, how about some links?

• "On Sunday, Nats Manager Matt Williams said the Strasburg brain locks had "been addressed." - "What is it about Stephen Strasburg that makes baseball observers see red?" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

NATS BEAT: Werth's wrist injury to keep him out two months

• "Team officials have made no announcements yet about Werth’s injury. MLB.com first reported the fractures." - "Source: Werth has 2 fractures in hand, out til August" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "It appears Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth will be out for a couple of months after a CT scan showed two fractures in his left wrist, according to reports..." - "Nationals Pastime: Worse than expected for Werth, who reportedly has two fractures in left wrist" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com

• "And that's the thing with these Nationals. General manager Mike Rizzo didn't simply build a great baseball team. He built an entire organization." - "Nats equipped to handle loss of Werth" - Richard Justice, nationals.com

• "A CT scan of Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth's left wrist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., on Thursday revealed two small fractures, according to a baseball source." - "CT scan shows 2 fractures in Werth's wrist" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com

• "The streaking Washington Nationals were dealt a blow Thursday when a CT scan, essentially a higher-quality exam, of Jayson Werth’s ailing left wrist revealed two small fractures..."  - "Jayson Werth has two fractures in left wrist, expected out until August" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

Scherzer stories:

• "Scherzer struck out 13, two shy of his career best, and scattered five hits over seven innings for the win..." - "Super Scherzer fans 13 in win over Cubs" - John Jackson and Carrie Muskat, nationals.com

• "In a game featuring the two most sought after free agent pitchers of the offseason, the Cubs' Jon Lester lost out, but not by much." - "Nationals Pastime: Scherzer and Harper provide relentless assault for Nats" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com

• "Scherzer got stronger as the night cooled and held a reconstructed Cubs lineup loaded with young talent scoreless through seven." - "Max Scherzer, Bryce Harper again dominant in Nationals’ 3-0 win over Cubs" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post

• "And yet the numbers only tell part of the story, because Scherzer has stood out not only for the end results he has produced but the manner in which he has produced those results." - "On Scherzer, Harper, Janssen and 9 straight series won" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Scherzer struck out a season-high 13 batters over seven innings, allowing only five hits. He walked only one in twirling 108 pitches, 72 for strikes." - "Scherzer and Janssen use similar styles to close down series in Chicago" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

Non-Werth and Scherzer stories:

• "Though he has yet to assume his typical rhythm at the plate, Zimmerman has played steadily at first." - "First things first: Ryan Zimmerman’s position change hasn’t been an issue" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post

• "Tim Murray of ESPN 980 and I welcomed two guests: Al Galdi of ESPN 980’s ‘The Drive’ and Daniel Shiferaw of CSNwashington and Nats Insider..." - "‘Baseball in the District’ – Al Galdi and Daniel Shiferaw" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider

NATIONAL(S) BEAT: Werth, Harper, Scherzer and more

• "While the injury is alarming, the Nationals have shown that they can get by without the veteran outfielder for long stretches..." - "Report: Jayson Werth out until at least August due to wrist fractures" - Chris Cwik, Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports

• "With the Nats now 47 games deep into their 2015 campaign, Harper already has more homers and more extra-base hits than he tallied across 100 games in an injury-riddled 2014 season..." - "What has happened to Bryce Harper?" - Ted Berg, For The Win

• "On an idyllic night in one of baseball's great old shrines, Scherzer showed the Cubs that he's not just the guy who was the best pitcher in the American League in 2013." - "In duel of winter prizes, no topping Scherzer" - Phil Rogers, cubs.com

• "One simple thing he's doing: Throwing more pitches in the strike zone, 4 percent more often than he did last season." - "Wednesday's power rankings" - David Schoenfield, SweetSpot - ESPN

• "Major League Baseball Properties just announced the launch of a Washington Nationals brand wine, created through a partnership with Wine by Design. The only problem: nothing about it, besides the label, really says Washington." - "The New Washington Nationals Wine Has Nothing to Do With Washington" - Anna Spiegel, Washingtonian

• "Bryce Harper’s main complaint about umpire Marvin Hudson: he clearly does not know the rules to The Hokey Pokey." - "MLB Power Rankings: Who are these Twins?" - Tim Brown, Yahoo Sports

• "His approach to the game has changed, with patience allowing him to work favorable counts, and an overall plate awareness that’s seeing him hit breaking balls harder and farther than he ever has prior in his young career." - "Believe the hype: Bryce Harper exceeding expectations for Nationals" - Dave Lengel, The Guardian

• "'I mean, it doesn’t matter, honestly. I love to start and now I've done back-and-forth relief. I just like being out there on the mound, competing,' he told 106.7 The Fan, per CBS DC." - "Tanner Roark unaffected by relegation from Nats rotation" - FOX Sports

NATS MINORS:

Class-A Hagerstown: "In his first start in over a year due to having to undergo Tommy John surgery, Purke was able to complete four innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits while striking out three." - "Suns shutout by Intimidators 4-0" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News

High-A Potomac: "Simms gutted out a five inning performance, allowing three runs (all earned) on seven hits and five walks while adding four strikeouts. The hits, walks and strikeouts were season highs for the righty." - "Potomac Nationals vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks Game Recap May 28th, 2015" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: Harrisburg 2 vs. Richmond 3 - Shawk Pleffner, 2 for 4, 2 RBIs - Harrisburg Senators Box

Triple-A Syracuse: "The Syracuse Chiefs lost a heartbreaker to the Norfolk Tides, 6-5, Thursday afternoon at Harbor Park, sweeping the four-game set." - "Syracuse Chiefs fall to the Norfolk Tides 6-5, Urrutia walkoff homer, Billings six and two-thirds innings, den Dekker, Martinson two RBIs" - Syracuse Chiefs News

NL EAST UPDATES: Mets' 6-man rotation? Wood's return; Hamels rumors; Fishtrust?

Mets: "Faced with no easy choice, the pitchers and the Mets will proceed with an expanded rotation." - "Why will 6-man rotation be good for Mets? Look at Washington Nationals" - Mike Vorkunov, NJ.com

Phillies: "Cole Hamels will take the mound at Citizens Bank Park tonight. But the ticking clock on his Phillies career is growing louder by the day." - "Phillies' Cole Hamels becoming more attractive trade chip by the day" - Ryan Lawrence, Philadelphia Daily News

Marlins: "From the moment he agreed to take over as manager, Jennings understood his first priority was to win the trust of his players." - "Inbox: Can players be themselves around Jennings?" - Joe Frisaro, marlins.com

Braves: "Because the virus had prevented him from making his scheduled start against the Brewers last week, Wood was pitching for the first time since May 16." - "Wood puts early-season struggles in rearview" - Mark Bowman, braves.com