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The Nationals began the week just four games back of the NL East-leading Mets, with a three-game series against New York beginning on Monday. The third of those contests will be played on Wednesday, and now, the Nats are just hoping they don't get swept. They aren't just losing to the Mets, either, as both of these games have been embarrassing for Washington.
On Monday, the focus was on Bryce Harper's postgame comments about the fans instead of the game itself. On Tuesday, the Nats managed to score seven runs off of Matt Harvey, knocking him out of the game in the sixth inning, but then failed to hold on and lost 8-7. The decision that will stand out here, the one that helped the Nationals fall to six games back in the East, was manager Matt Williams' decision to have Anthony Rendon bunt in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Rendon had a 3-1 count with Jayson Werth on first and the Nats down by just one run. Williams kept the bunt on in spite of the count, despite the "bad" and injured version of Rendon from 2015 still being a league-average hitter and despite the obvious opportunity to get assumed NL MVP Bryce Harper up with a runner in scoring position and no outs. That in turn would have likely loaded the bases so the Mets could avoid facing Harper, and the Nats would have been able to tie it up on something as simple as a sac fly or a well-placed grounder. Instead, the Nats are down six games, and their postseason hopes are fading.
- Matt Harvey is getting crushed by many Mets fans who believe he's being greedy or not a team player. Our own Grant Brisbee covered why Harvey and his agent, Scott Boras, have some important points, but it goes further than that. There's also a moral hazard to navigate in the Harvey situation, where Boras might be the only one with his client's long-term interests in mind.
- Jack Moore writes that the comparison of Matt Harvey to CC Sabathia -- who started on three days rest four times in a row in 2008 to help his team reach the postseason -- is bogus.
- Yoenis Cespedes made up for it later, but he helped the Mets give up seven runs in the first place on what turned out to be an inside-the-park grand slam.
- Blake Swihart was called up before he was ready thanks to injuries to Boston's two starting catchers, but he's hit so well since rejoining the team after his own injury that he looks like a lock for the 2016 Red Sox.
- The Blue Jays downed the Red Sox in extra innings on Tuesday on the same night the Yankees dropped a close one to the Orioles, bumping the Jays' lead to 1.5 in the AL East.
- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez might be a favorite of the front office, but he's reportedly lost the Atlanta clubhouse.
- The Giants are probably going to miss the playoffs a year after winning the World Series (again). There are bright sides to missing the postseason, at least for a team that can still see their trophy in the rear view.
- The Joe Mauer that Twins fans knew and loved is unlikely to return anytime soon, if ever.
- Jeff Samardzija seems an unlikely fit to accept the qualifying offer, even if the White Sox were to offer it following a tough 2015.