WS Game Three: Thor’s hammer from Brushback Mountain

Escobar, knocked out of his lounger to open Game Three . . .

Escobar, knocked out of his lounger to open Game Three . . .

Thor swung his hammer right out of the chute. And the New York Mets hammered and tonged the Kansas City Royals to make the World Series an honest-to-God Series again Friday night.

Noah Syndergaard said before Game Three that he had a trick up his sleeve in store for the Royals. What he really had was an opening argument to deliver. Not in the second inning. Not in the third. Not in the fourth or the fifth. Right out of the chute, top of the first, first pitch. Essentially, the message read thus:

The Cubs, ahead to the past?

The most powerful strikeout of all time?

The most powerful strikeout of all time?

Not to take anything away from Jacob deGrom, Daniel Murphy, and all the New York Mets who did the little things right Tuesday night. (And, in Murphy’s case, one not-so-little thing even more right.) But the way the Chicago Cubs finished the evening on the brink of elimination was just too Cubs for comfort.

Maybe Cub Country, that long-battered, long-picked-on nation of Jobs, can find some small comfort in knowing that it didn’t happen with the Cubs five outs from the World Series. And maybe Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was carrying a flashlight, too.

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. The division just about all the experts picked the Nats to run away with, all the way to a World Series crown, even.

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

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.