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HELLER: Nationals’ season on life support

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

• The sun shines brightly on Washington's first postseason baseball game in nearly eight decades, but potential gloom also pervades the premises. One more loss to the muscular Cardinals will put the Nats on the brink of wait-'til-next-year territory.

• On the other hand, it has been 88 years to the day since the original Senators/Nationals — take your pick — on the 1924 World Series. Omens, anyone?

• Hall of Fame slugger and charter Nats manager Frank Robinson makes the ceremonial first pitch, definitely ironic considering how the Nats tossed him overboard after the 2006 season. Of course, the toss is a strike to Ian Desmond, who wears No. 20 by way of honoring F. Robby.

• Nearly every seat is occupied before the 1:10 starting time. A weekday afternoon game for the team with baseball's best record — and in a town with the worst rush-hour traffic jams this side of L.A.? Does anybody else think MLB needs a real commissioner?

• Nats starter Edwin Jackson, notoriously vulnerable in the first inning, surrenders a quick run and then demonstrates that he can be lousy in the second, too, when Pete Kozma, the Cardinals' No. 8 hitter, crushes a three-run homer to make it 4-0. Pete who?

• In the middle of the fourth inning, a gaudily attired Teddy runs his winning streak to two in the Presidents Race as thousands cheer. Silly or not, the tomfoolery gives the desperate spectators something to yell about.

• They get something else an inning later when the Nats load the bases with two out for Michael Morse, who managed to officially hit a grand slam recently without a bat in his hands. This time, properly armed, he flies to right. More and more, this isn't looking like the Nats' day.

• It's 6-0 in the middle of the seventh, and the suspicion is that more than a few Nats fans are singing, "Take Me Away From the Ball Game." In the bottom half, Washington's 2-3-4 hitters fail to get a ball out of the infield against Cards reliever Trevor Rosenthal. Are Metro trains leaving the Navy Yard station yet?

• In the eighth, Matt Holliday's two-run single turns a one-sided game into a full-fledged 8-0 beatdown. Tomorrow is another day for the Nats but possibly their last until 2013.

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