The Dark Knight swallows his own sword

Matt Harvey, walking off the mound after the Marlins battered him early and often Monday . . .

Matt Harvey, walking off the mound after the Marlins battered him early and often Monday . . .

Now it seems a century ago when Matt Harvey all but ordered manager Terry Collins to let him try to finish what he started in Game Five of the 2015 World Series. The Series the Mets should have won but for their porous defense.

The game in which Harvey took a 2-0 shutout to the mound and discovered the hard way his heart was more full than his gas tank, surrendered a leadoff walk and an RBI double, then came out and watched helpless as the Royals exploited, yet again, a defense that could have been tried by jury for treason.

Health and headaches down the American League stretch

Verlander pitched and won the clincher for the Astros in the AL West, but the league's stretch excitement and possible chaos aren't done yet . . .

Verlander pitched and won the clincher for the Astros in the AL West, but the league’s stretch excitement and possible chaos aren’t done yet . . .

Well, the Astros have gotten everything they wanted from Justin Verlander since dealing to bring him over from the incredible shrinking Tigers. Including, they dared to dream, the still-formidable righthander pitching and winning the American League West-clinching game, which he did Sunday in his first home start for his new club.

Suddenly the Dodgers look like the Dodgers again

Third base coach Chris Woodward extends Cody Bellinger a low fist after Bellinger blasted NL rookie record-tying number 38 Saturday afternoon . . .

Third base coach Chris Woodward extends Cody Bellinger a low fist after Bellinger blasted NL rookie record-tying number 38 Saturday afternoon . . .

Everyone thought the Dodgers began looking like deer frozen in the headlights when that sorry slump turned into an eleven-game losing streak and sixteen of seventeen lost. Now, as they were en route their fourth straight win and second straight against the National League East champion Nationals, the only one who looked anything like that thus far this weekend was Nats outfielder Jayson Werth Friday night.

The streak is over, but wasn’t that a time?

Mike Minor (right) gets to brag that he finished off the Indians' American League record winning streak.

Mike Minor (right) gets to brag that he finished off the Indians’ American League record winning streak.

All good things must come to their finish, sooner or later. The Indians and their fans would have preferred the streak to finish later, of course, and likewise most of baseball and its lovers. But as the ancient folk song says, “Wasn’t that a time?”

“What they did over there was amazing,” said Royals manager Ned Yost, after his charges hung on for the 4-3 win that put an end to the Indians’ romp. “I mean, it’s utterly amazing. It’s just unfathomable for me that you can go three weeks without losing a game. I mean, it was a tremendous accomplishment.”

On “Racism is as American as Baseball”

The banner seen 'round Fenway and maybe the world . . .

The banner seen ’round Fenway and maybe the world . . .

When four fans draped a large banner over the Green Monster in the fourth inning Wednesday night, reading, “Racism is as American as Baseball,” it lasted long enough for the banner and its creators to be ejected from the ballpark. An immediate reaction, not knowing the creators or their intentions in the specific moment, could have been, “Do they denounce or applaud racism?”

For the Indians, it’s blackjack

Ramirez and Lindor are only two Indians with a lot to celebrate as it seems they've forgotten entirely how to lose . . .

Ramirez and Lindor are only two Indians with a lot to celebrate as it seems they’ve forgotten entirely how to lose . . .

Twenty-one means blackjack. Or, the name of the show proving the wick that lit the powder keg of the legendarily notorious quiz show scandal of 1959. In Cleveland, it means American League history. And, for the time being, anyway, invincibility.

Look out, 1935 Chicago Cubs? Step aside, 1916 New York Giants? The Indians aren’t that crazy no matter how invincible they feel after finishing off the teetering Tigers 5-3 Wednesday afternoon. But you wouldn’t blame them for thinking about it, either.

Verlander’s new Houston life beats the Tigers’ continuing one

Verlander leans in for a sign. All signs are great for him in Houston now, just as they're painful for his old friends in Detroit . . .

Verlander leans in for a sign. All signs are great for him in Houston now, just as they’re painful for his old friends in Detroit . . .

Do you get the feeling Justin Verlander simply prefers to pitch for a team with a realistic postseason shot? It’s not that he’s throwing steaks past wolves even in an Astros uniform, but since he came to the Astros in a waiver period deal making him eligible for the postseason, Verlander’s looked strong enough that the Astros must be thinking about him opening a division series, no questions asked.

Break a losing streak, clinch a postseason trip—the hard way

Jansen let out a whoop after punching out Hundley to end the game and the Dodger losing streak . . . but . . .

Jansen let out a whoop after punching out Hundley to end the game and the Dodger losing streak . . . but . . .

If you’re going to end an eleven-game losing streak, there’s no better way to do it than the hard way. Even if the break also means you clinched a trip to the postseason at minimum. Even if you looked just a month ago as though you were going to cruise to and through the postseason, maybe aboard a supersonic aircraft.

The bleeding Dodger blues

Dave Roberts (second from left) with reliever Walter Buehler (second from right) and infielder Cody Bellinger (right), moments before Mark Reynolds' grand slam hammered four more nails in the Dodgers' weekend coffin . . .

Dave Roberts (second from left) with reliever Walter Buehler (second from right) and infielder Cody Bellinger (right), moments before Mark Reynolds’ grand slam hammered four more nails in the Dodgers’ weekend coffin . . .

Let’s phrase it this way, as politely as possible: It sucks to be a Dodger or a Dodger fan right now. And while it’s always admirable to look for the light at the end of the tunnel, it sucks even worse to know that no team in major league history ever lost ten straight in any season in which they went on to win a World Series.

Gene Michael, RIP: The big Stick

Paul O'Neill (far left) and Gene Michael (next to O'Neill) with, from left, head trainer Gene Monahan, Joe Torre, Tino Martinez, David Cone, Mariano Rivera, and Jorge Posada, when O'Neill---for whom Michael dealt to begin building the Yankees' 1996-2000 dynasty---was presented his Monument Park plaque.

Paul O’Neill (far left) and Gene Michael (next to O’Neill) with, from left, head trainer Gene Monahan, Joe Torre, Tino Martinez, David Cone, Mariano Rivera, and Jorge Posada, when O’Neill—for whom Michael dealt to begin building the Yankees’ 1996-2000 dynasty—was presented his Monument Park plaque.

You could say the Yankees’ fabled Core Five dynasty wouldn’t have happened if Gene Michael—the Yankee general manager who was inadvertently allowed to build it, and who died of a heart attack 7 September at 79—hadn’t had something in common with Phil Rizzuto, other than being Yankee shortstops a couple of generations apart.