So much for tightening up the NL East race.  Were the Nationals really just four games behind the New York Mets when my swimming pool was last open?  Who would have thought it would now be 9 and a half games.  As in almost double digits…and with 20 games remaining in the regular season unless something miraculous happens, we’ll get to enjoy the slow countdown ot the offseason.

The five stages of Nats grief are:

1– Denial.  There’s no way Max Scherzer would blow a two run lead…right?  He’s the ace of the staff and even though Scherzer’s posted numbers of a #4 or #5 starter since the All Star Break, he’ll turn it around!

2– Anger.  How could the bullpen blow a 7-1 lead in the 7th?!  What was Drew Storen thinking when he walked three batters?!  How could Papelbon cough up a solo homer in the 8th?!

3– Bargaining.  Okay…if you just let our bullpen escape unscathed I promise I won’t hashtag any posts with “Nattitude” ever again…

4– Depression. One run against Miami?  Are the Marlins even in the major leagues?  How much more of this downward spiral do we have to handle?  Can we just void the rest of the season?

5– Acceptance.  Okay…we get it.  Shut out by the Marlins.  This team is going nowhere and now it’s time to focus on 2016.  Thanks for participating, guys.

Dissecting the Division– the Nats finally have a scheduling advantage with only 3 of their remaining 20 games coming against a team with a winning record:  the New York Mets to end the season.  The Mets have 19 games remaining… with 6 against clubs with winning marks as they face the Yankees and Nats at Citi Field.  So there is still a possibility…

Last Week’s Heroes– Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler man the radio booth…and while this has not been the September Surge the Nats were hoping for, the duo have been enjoyable in the summer their discontent.  The season of silence looms…but the losses are easier to handle listening to these two.

Last Week’s Humbled– the lone bright spot of breaking your thumb punching a locker?  By being out for the year Drew Storen will likely not win this award again in 2015.  The reliever walked three batters in Tuesday’s implosion…only to cough up a 2-run homer the next night.  Adding injury to insult, Storen broke his thumb hitting his locker after being lifted from the game.  Sadly that was not the right time to have pinpoint location.

Game to Watch– Friday at Nats Park Max Scherzer  (12-11, 2.91 ERA) faces Miami’s Jose Fernandez (5-0, 2.06).  Fernandez has pitched in five Major League games since the All Star break– striking out 10 in two of those outtings.  Can Scherzer build off Sunday’s victory?

Game to Miss– Thursday Tanner Roark (4-5, 4.38) searches for his first victory since July 4 against the Marlins Jared Cosart (1-4, 4.58).  Cheers is still on, right?