The temptation is great to say that, if a team has played 111 games and hasn’t gotten going, it’s not apt to go anywhere. But we can’t dismiss the Nationals because they are – stop me if you’ve heard this – hugely talented. And with Harper due – stop me here, too – to hit free agency, this could be their last good chance for a while.
But anyone thinking warm thoughts about a Washington charge should also note that the Nats have, over time, been a bit dysfunctional – from the overreliance on Scott Boras clients to Jonathan Papelbon’s dugout chokehold on Harper to the decision to dump manager Dusty Baker after consecutive division titles for rookie manager Dave Martinez, who hasn’t tripped the light fantastic. Last week the Nats released reliever Shawn Kelley for what was deemed a fit of pique at having to work the ninth inning of a game his team led 25-1. (He said he threw his glove after yielding a home run because he was mad at the umpires.)
With the #Natitude crew, it’s always something. Washington really should have won a World Series by now, but it’s yet to prevail in a single playoff series. Unless matters change, it won’t have any October flops to live down this time. But matters still could change. It’s now-or-never for the Nats.