Pain, not champagne for the Nots—er, Nats . . .

Harper's Saturday game winner was too late for these Nats, alas . . .

Harper’s Saturday game winner was too late for these Nats, alas . . .

This was the kind of situation the Nats always want, Stephen Strasburg striking out thirteen Phillies, and Bryce Harper smashing a game-winning double in the bottom of the twelfth Saturday afternoon. And it didn’t mean a thing anymore when it ended in a 2-1 Nats win.

Because almost an hour before Harper tagged Phillies reliever Colton Murray with one out, Mets closer Jeurys Familia finished the Mets’ destruction of the Reds in Cincinnati to clinch the none-too-potent National League East.┬áThe division just about all the experts picked the Nats to run away with, all the way to a World Series crown, even.

The last thing the Nats need

Papelbon (58) has the nerve to look surprised after being tossed for drilling Machado with apparent malice aforethought . . .

Papelbon (58) has the nerve to look surprised after being tossed for drilling Machado with apparent malice aforethought . . .

This one you simply can’t paper over, try though you might. Just keep your eye on Bryce Harper today. If the Nationals’ and maybe the National League’s best player this season gets drilled, you can thank his teammate Jonathan Papelbon—then ponder whether the Nats have plans to ship him off in the offseason to anyone who’ll have him.