The Beltway clinches, and dreams awhile . . .

Adam Jones, flag-waving pie-man . . .

Adam Jones, flag-waving pie-man . . .

Adam Jones got a few Camden Yards fans a little pie-eyed—cream pied, that is. Bryce Harper plopped a personalised Washington, D.C. Fire Department helmet on his head and took selfies with teammates. Neither man had to be told otherwise that a possible Beltway World Series loomed ahead, depending upon how the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals handle themselves when the postseason launches.

No, the Strasburg Plan didn’t kill the Nats this year, either

It was anything but Strasburg's fault, last year or this year.

It was anything but Strasburg’s fault, last year or this year.

I said it last October, when the Washington Nationals imploded in a division series Game Five they had practically in the bank. And I’ll say it again, John Feinstein be damned. (Only kidding, sir.) The Strasburg Plan had nothing to do with the Nats going no further than the division series last year. And it had nothing to do with them going nowhere but home when the regular season ends this weekend.

The Strasburg Plan, for the Last Time, Didn’t Cost the Nats

Strasburg, watching the division series: He’s not the reason the Nats got pushed out . . .

Mark DeRosa, inactive for the division series but still regarded as one of their team’s leaders, should have spoken the final word on whether the Strasburg Plan ended up costing the Washington Nationals a trip to the National League Championship Series at minimum. The Plan, he tells the Washington Post, is now “irrelevant.”

These Nats are Werth It

For what it was Werth, the thirteenth was his and the Nats’ lucky pitch . . .

Jayson Werth went home Wednesday night to flip on the Orioles-Yankees American League division series game and got a powerful enough message from a former Philadelphia Phillies teammate.

“I got a little something last night,” he huffed happily Thursday afternoon. “Watching my boy Raul Ibanez do it, he gave me a little something today.”

Ibanez, of course, blasted a game-tying bomb in the bottom of the ninth and a game-winning bomb in the bottom of the twelfth. Nowhere near twenty-four hours later, Werth—the high-priced Nat who’s struggled to live up to his mammoth deal for most of his time since—showed just what Ibanez gave him.

“Today, for us, was a must-win game . . . “

Beltran (3) has all hands on his deck and decking the Nats . . .

Sunday’s division series opener saw the Washington Nationals squeeze out a win with not an extra base hit between themselves and the St. Louis Cardinals. Monday saw the Cardinals even things up, and how, in the set, by way of a 12-4 burial featuring nine extra base hits, seven off St. Louis bats, and some fatal miscues by these Nats who didn’t make too many such miscues in piling up baseball’s best regular-season record.

Free-Falling Mets: Feeling the Heat; or, Bench Pressed

The Mets are free-falling. They’ve just wrapped an 0-6 homestand and probably can’t wait to beat it out of town for a West Coast trip. Maybe they’re not as good as they looked in the first half. Maybe nobody should have expected them to stay the race course. But this is getting ridiculous: the bench calling the wrong pitch at the wrong time and letting the other guys put a reachable game further out of reach than it should have been.

What did he know . . .

Of All-Star Follies . . .

The Wright stuff for an All-Star start . . .

So you thought the Cincinnati All-Star ballot box stuffing scandal was scandalous? Try explaining the San Francisco All-Star ballot box stuffing this year. Once you’ve done that, explain to me how and why a guy (Pablo Sandoval) who’s only played in 44 games with decent numbers gets the fan vote to start at third base over the arguable first-half National League most valuable player (David Wright, New York Mets) who’s carried a team with an injury and inconsistency-wracked offence into the thick of the pennant races. Unless you think a 1.013 OPS through this writing indicates a player worse than one with an .848 OPS.