The Nationals are in St. Louis this week for a series that could turn into the kind of ritual sacrifice that got TS Eliot so excited back in the day. Everything's perfectly set up for it:
- The Nats are 5.5 back.
- Time may be slowing down, but it is still moving ahead and, from the Nats' perspective, running out.
- It's getting to be harvest time.
- The Nats are the reigning kings of the National League East and thus representative of the sun.
- The Cardinals are far, far better at baseball.
It's the baseball equivalent of drugging the king, dressing him up like a stalk of wheat, and telling him to look over there while you prepare your stone axe for the mortal bonk.
I'm guessing that's how they did it. I wasn't there.
Meanwhile, the Mets get to play the Phillies. The Nats get the best team on the road; the Mets get the worst team at home. You have to appreciate the symmetry.
My point is that if you haven't yet given up on the Nats, you might not have any choice by the time these series conclude. They have squandered a comfortable-seeming lead and spent enough time staggering around like a recently-bonked king that merely playing well isn't going to make any difference.
To paraphrase the last thing Anne Bonny ever said to her pirate boyfriend, had the Nats fought like men, they needn't have been hang'd like dogs.