Papelbon’s apology amplifies the Nationals’ unreality

Papelbon's choke attempt . . .

Papelbon’s choke attempt . . .

Jonathan Papelbon struggles with at least two things off the mound, apparently. He isn’t as good as he thinks with public apologies, and he’s no historian of Washington baseball. He showed both when he faced the press at the Nationals’ Space Coast Stadium spring digs and owned up over trying to choke Bryce Harper in the dugout on last September’s Fan Appreciation Day.

It may have been nothing compared to the Nats themselves showing how out of touch with things like reality they may well be.

What the Dodgers may not have learned from the Nats

Going for Chapman may have made Jansen a very unhappy camper . . .

Going for Chapman may have made Jansen a very unhappy camper . . .

Set aside for the moment that the Aroldis Chapman trade to the Dodgers may fall through thanks to a domestic violence investigation involving the Cincinnati closer and his girlfriend. It didn’t come to light until the winter meetings launched and it looked like Chapman was going west. And it’s thrown the winter meetings into a partial loop.

Now, ask yourself whether the Dodgers learned nothing from the 2015 Nationals.

Williams’s Nats looking booked and cooked

Matt Williams, to whom the Book is too sacred when it needs to be set aside . . .

Matt Williams, to whom the Book is too sacred when it needs to be set aside . . .

Let’s not be too polite about it. The team every expert on earth picked in spring to win the National League East, with no few of them picking them to go all the way to a World Series ring, is doing its level best to make chumps out of every one of those experts. That’s because manager Matt Williams seems to be doing his level best to make sure they don’t even get to the wild card play-in game.

The NL East race tightens up, Du-da, Du-da . . .

Duda doesn't mind making you pay one bit for your skipper's brain farts . . .

Duda doesn’t mind making you pay one bit for your skipper’s brain farts . . .

All the Mets had to do to get power hitting but often inconsistent Lucas Duda back in gear was bring aboard Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe and have manager Terry Collins let Duda know, no questions asked, that it was time to produce runs now or the Mets, somehow, would get someone else. And all Duda did was look the boss right in the eye and say, “I got it.”

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.

Storen needs relief, sent to Syracuse to find it

Storen (22) shows frustration . . .

Storen (22) shows frustration . . .

Apparently, not everyone was happy when the Washington Nationals signed Rafael Soriano in the offseason. And at least one Nat suspects the signing was a kind of punishment levied against Drew Storen, the now-former closer whose struggling thus far has finally landed him back in Triple A, sent to Syracuse after the Nats split a doubleheader with the Mets Friday.

Storen can begin his rehorsing knowing that fellow reliever Tyler Clippard, thought to be his best friend on the team, has his back. “You know, you basically send a guy a message this offseason, for having one bad game, that he’s not the guy for the job. He’s only human. I mean, it’s going to get to anybody,” Clippard told CSNWashington.com.

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.