Zim on returning from DL

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A Quick History Of Washington Nationals’ Win Streaks.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 16:  Danny Espinosa #18 of the Washington Nationals gets doused with gatorade by Ian Desmond #6 and Roger Bernadina #2 after hitting the game winning three run home run in the tenth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park on June 16, 2011 in Washington, DC. The Nationals won the game 7-4. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

What began with a win in the second of four games in San Diego last Friday has now stretched on for six-straight with the Washington Nationals taking three of four games from the Padres on the road and three-straight from St. Louis Cardinals at home in Nats Park. The Nationals' longest win-streak in 2011 before the last week had been a four-game stretch that saw them sweep the Milwaukee Brewers out of Nationals Park before traveling to St. Louis and taking the first of three from the Cards from April 15th-20th. Before the current win-streak, the Nats hadn't won more than six in a row since they took seven-straight to end the '09 campaign, falling a game short of tying a season-long eight-game win streak. That win-streak saw the Nationals take eight-straight from August 2nd through 9th, 2009, two of three from Pittsburgh before sweeping back-to-back three-game road series from Florida and Arizona...

The Nats won seven-straight from August 26 through September 1, 2008, beating the LA Dodgers and Atlanta Braves in back-to-back three-game series, and taking the first of three from Philadelphia. The Nats' longest streak in 2007 saw Washington beat Cincinnati and St. Louis in six-straight on the road from May 1st through 9th, and in 2006 it was six again, with the Nationals beating the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants in six-straight at home in RFK from July 21st through the 27th. 

The longest win streak in franchise history, however, took place in 2005, June 2nd through the 12th, when the Nationals beat the Braves in the third game of a three-game set on June 2nd then continued to take three-straight from the Florida Marlins, three from the Oakland A's and three from the Seattle Mariners for 10 in-a-row. That win streak saw the Nats move from third place on June 3rd to 1st place on the 5th, and end the streak with a 37-26 record, and a game and a half lead in the NL East. The Nats had another six-game win streak that season, taking three from the Pirates and three from the Cubs from June 28th through July 3rd. 

A win tonight, in the first game of a three-game Interleague series with the Orioles will help Washington tie the D.C. franchise's third-longest win streak. A sweep of the Orioles would put them at nine and they'd have to take one from Seattle next Tuesday to tie the franchise's best. The current streak's gotten the Nationals out of the NL East's basement, a game ahead of the 5th place Marlins, a game behind the third place Mets and five and a half behind the Wild Card leading Atlanta Braves. But let's not get ahead of ourselves...


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Friday’s Nationals lineup

Riding a six-game winning streak, the Nationals host Zach Britton and the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night at Nationals Park. Here’s Washington’s lineup

1. Jayson Werth, RF

2. Ian Desmond, SS

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Beltway Baseball Live – 6/17/11

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Sean Burnett’s sinker leads to a ‘confidence boost’

As Sean Burnett’s shaky season worsened, he often said he could not figure out why he could not recapture his form from last season, when he became one of baseball’s best relievers. Over the past week, while his struggles kept him confined to the bullpen, he diagnosed one possible reason: He was letting hitters feast on his secondary pitches, and not forcing them to hit his sinker.

“I wasn’t getting beat with my best pitch the last month and a half,” Burnett said. “If I was going to get beat, I was going to start getting beat with my sinker. It’s something I’ve been thinking about the last week or so.”

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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Welcome Baltimore Orioles To Nats Park, Look For Seventh Straight W.

Washington Nationals' Danny Espinosa, left, and third base coach Bo Porter, right, celebrate after Espinosa's game-winning three-run home run during the 10th inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in Washington, Thursday, June 16, 2011. The Nationals beat the Cardinals 7-4. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

• Programming Notes: Luckily there's no DH this time when the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles face off in Interleague play. This time it's baseball played the right way. Jason Marquis and Zack Britton will be on the mound tonight when the Nats and O's start a three-game set at 7:05 pm EDT. The Nationals take a six-game win streak into tonight's contest, and Zimmerman hasn't even warmed up yet. MASN HD, MLB.tv, 106.7 The FAN in D.C., 1500 WFED, Sirius/XM channel 187. Who's Watching the Nationals Go For Seven Straight?

• LINKS AND LINKS AND...

• NATS BEAT: 

• Twitter: @NationalsPR - "Last night was the 1st gm in Expos/Nats history in which the club had both a 1st-inning leadoff HR & a game-ending HR (courtesy of Elias)." 

• "Just that one spot difference, LaRussa said, can force the manager into an earlier decision on whether to pull the starting pitcher or how to double-switch." - "Tony LaRussa likes the Nationals’ lineup" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'I think the number one thing is the growth of Desmond and Espinosa,' Riggleman said." - "Riggleman: Personnel changes key to defensive turnaround" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "If most of the Washington Nationals couldn’t recall their last six-game winning streak, it wouldn’t be for lack of an apt memory." - "Espinosa's walk-off blast gives the Nats their sixth straight win" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'It has been a tough season and Ryan [Zimmerman's] injury certainly hurt, but they played their hearts out every game,' Lerner said." - "Lerner pleased by Nationals' progress in 2011" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com

• "We’re turning things around. Losing isn’t acceptable in this clubhouse." - Danny Espinosa"Nationals vs. Cardinals: Danny Espinosa’s walk-off homer gives Washington its sixth straight win" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "'Sometimes, when you get your point across, your voice is raised a little bit. It happens,' Marquis said." - "Baltimore Orioles at Washington Nationals: Streaking Nationals kick off Interleague set with O's" - Audrey Snyder, MLB.com Preview

• "Hamilton was safe and the Nationals had committed their first error in 130 2/3 innings -- a franchise record, as well as the longest such streak in the major leagues this season." - "Nationals record-breaking errorless streak comes to harmless end" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'I wasn't getting beat by my best pitch the last month and a half,' Burnett said." - "Confidence in Burnett gave Nationals chance to sweep Cards" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "If we keep playing well and beating good teams, we'll start realizing we should compete and win these games." - Laynce Nix"Nationals 7, Cardinals 4: Second look" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• Twitter: @AdamKilgoreWP "Ollie Perez placed on DL at Class AA Harrisburg."

• "The Nationals had long since shifted into high gear, though. And in the bottom of the inning, it was Espinosa driving a pitch into the home bullpen for a walk-off win." - "As wins keep coming, Nationals succeeding in ways they couldn't before" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• "'I would call him and say, 'Can you hit ground balls? I want to go hit.' If I asked him, he was always there.'" - Danny Espinosa - "Espinosa Jr. gives Sr. all the credit" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "'It was a big confidence boost to be left in there to see if I could get through it and then get through it.'" - Sean Burnett"St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals: Espinosa's walk-off secures sweep of Cards" - Steven Miller, MLB.com WSH Recap

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "Everyone can understand from natural experience and common sense that affection is crucial from the day of birth; it is the basis of life." - 

• NATS MINOR LEAGUE UPDATES: 

• Class-A Hagerstown: Randolph Oduber - 3 for 4, 1 R; Bryce Harper - 0 for 4, 1 BB, 2 K's; A.J. Cole - 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K's, 1 HR - Hagerstown Suns Scoreboard

• Class-A Hagerstown: David Freitas - 2 for 3, 2B; Bryce Harper 0 for 3, .326 AVG; - Hagerstown Suns Scoreboard

• Class-A Potomac - Jeff Kobernus - 3 for 4, 1 SB, 1 HR; Eury Perez - 1 for 4, .288 AVG - Potomac Nationals Scoreboard

Double-A Harrisburg: "The Senators' Steve Lombardozzi started off the game with a single then scored the first run of the game for the Sens after a triple by Tyler Moore." - "Josh Johnson leads the Sens past Trenton" - Terry Byrom, Harrisburg Senators News

Double-A Harrisburg: "The Senators used a clutch two-run double by Josh Johnson in the top of the seventh inning of Thursday night’s series finale to top the Trenton Thunder 3-2." - "Game 64: Senators 3, Thunder 2" - Mick Reinhard, The Sports 'Burger

Triple-A Syracuse: "The three runs backed up Brad Meyers, who allowed just two runs in seven innings and claimed his fourth win of the season." - "Chiefs rally in eighth to beat Knights" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "The newly affiliated Auburn Doubledays start play tonight in the New York-Penn League with a still-undisclosed roster. Ryan Demmin is the Opening Day starter, according to MiLB.com." - "Friday’s News & Notes" - Sue Dinem, NationalsProspect.com

• "According to Baseball America's Prospects Blog, the Nats have signed the following draft picks..." - "9 Draft Pick Signings" - Sean Hogan, DC is for Baseball

• SHARKNATSTOWN

• "The Great Werth led off with a solo-shot.  Then Tyler predicted that Shark would follow suit on Twitter..." - "Sharkorade Celebration!" - Sharkadina: Roger Bernadina's Unofficial Blog

NATSTOWN: 

• "What do you want to believe: the first 66 games of this season, where the Nats couldn't hit their way out of a wet paper bag; or the last two days, where the Nats have banged out 28 hits and 18 runs?" - "Enjoying Success but Keeping Expectations in Check" - Dave Nichols, Nats News Network

• "During the past few years, one of the worst pitchers in the National League played for the New York Mets." - "Ollie-Watch: Taking A Flier [UPDATE]" - Mac, Capitol Baseball

• "While the Nats’ bats are suddenly on fire, the racing presidents’ behavior has reached a new level of unpredictability." - "Teddy goes off-course into the outfield" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "It's the first time Washington has won six in a row since they closed the season in 2009 with seven consecutive victories." - "GAME 69 REVIEW: Danny Does It!" - Dave Nichols, Nats News Network

• "Danny Espinosa delivers walk-off HR, earns Gatorade shower" - Nats Enquirer

• NL EAST UPDATES: 

Braves"Tommy Hanson was scratched from his scheduled Friday start because of tendinitis in his pitching shoulder." - "Hanson scratched (shoulder); Delgado to debut" David O'Brien, ajc.com

Mets: "'Three pitches, it’s a tie ballgame,' [Francisco] Rodriguez said. 'There’s no excuses. I didn’t execute and it cost us the game.'" - "K-Rod: Blame Mets' Balk-Off Loss To Braves On Me; Francisco Rodriguez Served Up Homer That Led To D.J. Carrasco's Mistake" - CBS New York

Phillies: "The series will kick off at 10:10 PM ET with Roy Oswalt facing rookie phenom Michael Pineda." - "Mariners Series Preview with Pro Ball NW" - Bill Baer, Crashburn Alley

Marlins: "The Marlins have lost seven in a row, and they're now 6.5 games out in the wild card.  It's time to think about selling." - "If The Marlins Become Sellers: MLB Rumors" - Tim Dierkes, MLBTradeRumors.com


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Series preview: Orioles at Nats

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One sweep later, what Ryan Zimmerman’s return has meant to the Nationals

Ryan Zimmerman has not made an especially obvious impact on the Nationals in the three games since he returned. He did start last night’s winning rally with a single, and he ripped an RBI double during the Nationals’ comeback Tuesday. Overall, he is 3 for 15 for a double and two RBIs. He hasn’t had a chance to do much in the field, and the one throw he made one-hopped its way into Michael Morse’s glove.

The Nationals have won all three of those games, and they have scored 25 runs in total. In the 67 previous innings, they had scored 16. Three games, we all know, is meaningless as far as sample sizes go. So it would not seem that, with his relatively minor contributions over such a short span, you would not be able to correlate his return to the Nationals’ sweep of the Cardinals.

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Burnett receives confidence boost vs. Cardinals

Burnett receives confidence boost vs. Cardinals
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Flying high

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