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Cardinals Nationals B_Hasc-1.jpg

The Nationals have a .611 winning percentage at Nationals Park this season, their best home record in their history. (Associated Press)

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The Nationals signed 34-year-old left-handed reliever Mike Gonzalez after he finished last season with the Texas Rangers. He was dealt there from the Baltimore Orioles on Aug. 31, 2011. (Associated Press)

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AP1109300101652.jpg

The Nationals signed 34-year-old left-handed reliever Mike Gonzalez after he finished last season with the Texas Rangers. He was dealt there from the Baltimore Orioles on Aug. 31, 2011. (Associated Press)

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The Nationals' Tyler Clippard has struck out six of the 11 batters he's faced since inheriting the closer's role. (Associated Press)

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The Nationals' Tyler Clippard has struck out six of the 11 batters he's faced since inheriting the closer's role. (Associated Press)

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Braves Nationals Base_Reps(2).jpg

The Nationals' Tyler Clippard has struck out six of the 11 batters he's faced since inheriting the closer's role. (Associated Press)

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Astros Nationals Spri_Hasc.jpg

The Nationals on Tuesday demoted pitcher John Lannan to the minor leagues. They'll use Ross Detwiler in the fifth spot. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

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The Nationals sent John Lannan to Triple-A and will now use Ross Detwiler in the rotation to begin the season. (Associated Press)

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andrew harnik/the washington times The Nationals feature a formidable four of (from left) Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, Edwin Jackson and Stephen Strasburg. Washington traded for Gonzalez in December, and Jackson signed as a free agent in February.

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The Nationals showed glimpses of their bright future this season - and the younger players will need to continue to develop in order grab the No. 1 spot in the NL East. (Associated Press)

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The Nationals' Tom Gorzelanny scores on Roger Bernadina's triple in the second inning, but the left-hander sprained his right ankle on the play and is listed as day to day. (Associated Press)

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CAPITAL INVESTMENT: The Nationals lured right fielder Jayson Werth from the Philadelphia Phillies with a seven-year, $126 million deal. Washington has gone 21-51 against rival Philadelphia since 2007. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

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The Nationals grounds crew touch up the field prior to the opening day game against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park, in Washington, D.C., Thursday, March 31, 2011. (Drew Angerer/The Washington Times)

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From left, Sam Hampton of Winchester, Va., Holly Thomas of Upperville, Md., and Caroline Marschner of Arlington, Va. dance in section 241 of the outfield while Francis O'Reilly of Front Royal, Va. takes their picture on opening day, Thursday, March 31, 2011 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Nationals hosted the Atlanta Braves, who won 2-0. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

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The Nationals are trying to learn a few things about customer service from Mickey Mouse and Disney. (Getty Images)