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Tonight through Thursday
What's new: The Nationals (38-26) are one of the league's biggest surprises, leading the NL East, but are coming off a three-game sweep by the Yankees that snapped a six-game winning streak. They've been buoyed by one of the game's brightest and most hyped young stars in OF Bryce Harper, with SS Ian Desmond and 1B Adam LaRoche sparking the offense. But the key has been pitching, led by Wednesday's starter, RHP Stephen Strasburg, as the Nationals boast the league's best ERA (3.00).
Key stat: The Nationals have led their division for 54 days this season, a franchise record.
Connections: Nationals RHP Edwin Jackson is an ex-Ray, SS Steve Lombardozzi a former St. Petersburg College standout. Rays bench coach Dave Martinez and third-base coach Tom Foley are former Expos (the team moved from Montreal after the 2004 season).
Series history: The overall series is tied at 9, with the Nationals 6-3 at home.
Joe Smith, Times staff writer