Talking leadoff spot, Wang's rehab start and Beltway Battle

Yes, the Nationals will have a guy with 48 strikeouts - tied for fourth-most in the majors - and a .291 on-base percentage in the leadoff spot today.

If Ian Desmond isn't a traditional leadoff guy, Danny Espinosa is even less so.

Espinosa did hit a ball really hard during his pinch-hitting appearance last night, so there's that. We'll see if a move to the top of the lineup can get him jump-started.

In 170 career plate appearances out of the leadoff spot, Espinosa has struggled, however, hitting .162 with a .235 on-base percentage.

While Ross Detwiler allowed six runs in five innings just hours after it was announced he'll likely stay in the rotation once Chien-Ming Wang returns from his rehab stint, Wang didn't exactly light the world on fire last night, either.

Making his fifth rehab appearance since straining his left hamstring back in spring training, Wang allowed four runs, seven hits and three walks over 5 2/3 innings last night for Triple-A Syracuse.

The three walks are a bit high for a pitcher who normally thrives on getting guys to put the ball in play and beat his sinker into the ground, which shows Wang didn't have his best control last night.

We're now 75 minutes before first pitch, and swarms of fans are already pouring into Nats Park through the left field gate. The attendance and atmosphere have been exceptional during the first two games of this series, and with another perfect day weather-wise, today should be another great turnout.

The scene has been noticed by a number of players on both sides, who have commented how enjoyable it's been to play in front of a nearly-packed house with plenty on the line for each team.

"It's great," Ryan Zimmerman said. "Both of us playing well, both having a young core group of guys on the team that each fan base can relate with and cheer for more than one year at a time, it's great for both cities, it's great for baesball, and it's great for this area. There's nothing bad about (it). It's going to be fun, and it's only going to get better as the years go on."

Stephen Strasburg will take the mound today hoping to bounce back from his rough outing last time out, when he allowed four runs and seven hits over just four innings and dealt with the whole "hot stuff" situation.

The Nats are 6-2 when Strasburg starts this season, which is nice to know as they aim to avoid the sweep against the O's today.

"Anytime you lose the first two, the outcome of the last game is kind of a momentum swing," Zimmerman said. "Obviously going out on a tough road trip against all of our divisional guys, we'll try to get some momentum going (Sunday). Stephen will pitch well. And hopefully we give him some support early and go from there."

Shameless plug: I'll be popping on the "Nats Xtra" pregame show just after 1:00 p.m. to talk about the Detwiler/Wang situation. Set your DVRs now.

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