- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 26, 2015

In spring training, Bryce Harper shared that the Washington Nationals’ signing of pitcher Max Scherzer to a seven-year, $210 million contract in January caused him to ask, “Where’s my ring?”

He’s still looking for it.

Harper and the Nationals, a popular pick before the season to advance to the World Series, will not even qualify for the playoffs after the New York Mets captured the National League East title on Saturday with a 10-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

The victory gave the Mets, considered a long shot to contend this season, their first division title since 2006. The Chicago Cubs sewed up the second NL wild card spot late Friday night when the San Francisco Giants lost to the Oakland Athletics.

The Nationals qualified for the playoffs when they won the NL East in 2012 and 2014, but were eliminated in the first round on both occasions. They were also expected to make a deep run through the postseason in 2013 but failed to make it then as well.

A series of long-term injuries to top position players, including left fielder Jayson Werth, center fielder Denard Span and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, as well as extreme inconsistencies in the bullpen were among the chief reasons why the Nationals stumbled this season.

They will finish their home schedule on Monday against the Reds, then will wrap up their season on the road with three-game series against the Atlanta Braves and the Mets.

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