NL East

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Some 5 12 weeks ago, the Nationals opened what they knew would be as daunting a stretch of baseball as any team was likely to face this season: 33 consecutive games against opponents from only the

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BALTIMORE -- As consistent and as dominant as their pitching staff has been since Opening Day, the Nationals have known all along there will be days when they simply need to score a few more runs a

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They've gone through four different closers. They've had five different guys succumb to injury.

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That the Nationals could get swept by the Yankees over a frustrating week of baseball and still emerge holding a four-game lead in the NL East is a tribute to how far this organization has come.

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Remember how daunting this 33-game stretch against only NL East and AL East teams was supposed to be for the Nationals?

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