And on the 182nd day, the Washington Nationals rested.
The space around Edwin Jackson held great memories. Champagne showers. World Series triumphs. The height of his profession. But the reality he lived on Friday night was nothing of the sort.
Davey Johnson sat down and his expression said it before his first words could. "Well, that one hurt," the Washington Nationals manager said.
It was just Friday afternoon that Davey Johnson endorsed a co-closer approach. Both Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard would get chances down the stretch as the Washington Nationals try to wrap up the National League East title.
Ryan Mattheus kept his eyes low, his words muffled. He berated himself. He called his inability to throw strikes in the decisive eighth inning Saturday night "inexcusable" and searched for the reason why his command deserted him.
The Washington Nationals' 2-0 victory over the New York Mets basically was like any other game for all but two of Washington's players — Stephen Strasburg, the phenom whose season was shut down last week, and John Lannan, the one-time rotation stalwart now filling the gap.
The Washington Nationals began life without Stephen Strasburg on Wednesday. They did it without note and without fanfare. John Lannan took the mound, the Nationals won. The beat goes on.
Twelve days ago, Miami Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco smothered the Washington Nationals with a five-hit, complete game shutout. On a picture perfect day at Nationals Park on Sunday, he did it again.
The gap between the Washington Nationals and the Chicago Cubs was made perfectly clear this week at Nationals Park.