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Interleague Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, June 8th (All times Eastern)

Washington Nationals (32-23) at Boston Red Sox (29-28), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Washington - Stephen Strasburg (6-1, 2.35) Boston - Felix Doubront (6-2, 2.75)

(Sports Network) - The Boston Red Sox get their first look at phenom Stephen Strasburg this evening when the Washington Nationals start a three-game series against them at Fenway Park.

Strasburg has been terrific for the Nationals, who come into tonight's tilt atop the National League East standings. A big reason why has been the play of Strasburg.

The 23-year-old right-hander is 6-1 with a 2.35 ERA with 79 strikeouts in 65 innings. He won his third straight start on Saturday against Atlanta, scattering four hits over seven scoreless innings, while striking out nine without walking a batter.

"That's the best I've seen (Strasburg) throw," Braves catcher Brian McCann said afterward. "He basically did anything he wanted today. He was pounding the ball down in the zone and mixing it up. He was putting his curveball where he wanted it. When you throw that hard and you can command it like that, it makes it tough on hitters."

Tonight will be Strasburg's first-ever start at Fenway, where the Nationals franchise has never won, dating back to their days when they were playing in Montreal.

The Nats were denied a series sweep over the New York Mets on Thursday, as they dropped a 3-1 decision.

Chien-Ming Wang (1-2) gave up two runs on eight hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings to take the loss for Washington, which had won three of its last four games.

"I liked his arm strength and everything," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said of Wang. "He's having a little problem, he gets to the side of the ball. He doesn't stay on top of it. Sometimes he gets out of the slot that he needs to be in. When he stays in that slot, his stuff is outstanding. It's just a consistency thing with him."

Tonight's contest marks the first of a brutal 15-game stretch against teams from the American League East for the Nationals. Each team in the division is above .500, with the Red Sox at 29-28 and in last place.

Boston, though, enters tonight's series opener following a big win over the division-leading Baltimore Orioles that saw righty Clay Buchholz toss a four- hit shutout in a 7-0 win.

Buchholz (6-2) fanned six and walked one while holding the O's to four hits in his first shutout since he shut down Baltimore back on June 4, 2010 at Camden Yards.

"It was spectacular," said manager Bobby Valentine of Buchholz's outing. "Clay came out and had all of his pitches right from the get-go. I thought his changeup and the arm speed on his changeup was spectacular."

Adrian Gonzalez and Daniel Nava each plated a pair of runs, while Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia added an RBI apiece to halt a seven-game losing streak against the Orioles at Fenway.

Getting the call for the Red Sox tonight will be lefty Felix Doubront, who has won five of his last six starts. Doubront beat the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday, limiting them to two earned runs in 6 1/3 frames, as he improved to 6-2, while lowering his ERA to 3.75.

"He does it in different ways," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said after that start. "(Against the Blue Jays) he showed that he was a good pitcher because he was able to win the game without having his best stuff. ... He was behind hitters, getting three balls on hitters and still getting them out at times. The fourth inning, he came up with a good curveball, started throwing it and figured out a way to keep us in the game to win the game."

Doubront has never faced the Nats.

Boston hasn't faced Washington since taking two of three from them at Nationals Park back in 2009. This is the Nats' first trip to Beantown since they were swept in 2006.

06/08 10:53:01 ET