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Instant analysis: Nats 6, Blue Jays 2

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Instant analysis: Nats 6, Blue Jays 2

Game in a nutshell: With an opportunity to sweep their second consecutive series in an AL park and complete the first 6-0 road trip in team history, the Nationals left little to chance. They pounced on the Blue Jays early and then blasted their way to another convincing victory, thanks to a surprise contributor: rookie Tyler Moore, who clubbed two homers and a double and drove in five runs. Ian Desmond also homered for for a Nationals team that launched eight home runs during this three-game series. Stephen Strasburg happily accepted the offensive support, tossing six innings of two-run ball to improve to 8-1 for the season and finish off a fabulous road trip in style.

Hitting highlight: Moore earned his promotion to the major leagues by crushing home runs left and right in the minors, including 31 each of the last two seasons. But he had yet to connect in his limited opportunities in the big leagues. Until today. Getting his first chance to start at first base with Adam LaRoche given a day off, Moore showed off his power in a big way. He delivered his first career homer in the fourth (a two-run blast to left) and then hammered a solo shot to center in the sixth. Throw in his two-run double in the second, and Moore wound up driving in the Nationals' first five runs of the day.

Pitching highlight: Five days after his 119-pitch, 13-strikeout effort in Boston, there was some question what Strasburg would have left in the tank this afternoon. Turns out he had more than enough to turn in another quality start. The right-hander did serve up a homer to Jose Bautista in the third inning, but he rebounded to retire 10 of the last 12 batters he faced. At only 89 pitches through the sixth, Strasburg could have returned for another inning -- and he certainly appeared to want to come back out -- but Davey Johnson decided not to take any chances and pulled his ace after a perfectly acceptable, eight-strikeout performance.

Key stat: Strasburg has now made 30 career starts in the big leagues, roughly the equivalent of a full season. His totals: a 14-5 record, 2.50 ERA, 169 innings, 131 hits, 216 strikeouts and 39 walks.

Up next: After a day off following their wildly successful road trip, the Nationals open one of the biggest homestands in team history when the Yankees and Rays come to town. Gio Gonzalez faces Phil Hughes in Friday's 7:05 p.m. series opener against New York at Nationals Park.

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Bryce Harper thanks Nationals fans for support during 2017 season

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USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Harper thanks Nationals fans for support during 2017 season

It's been a week since the air was sucked out of D.C. in the Nationals Game 5, 9-8 loss to the Chicago Cubs. 

And now that we've had a few days to decompress from another early D.C. playoff exit, Nats right fielder Bryce Harper decided to take some time to thank fans for their support this season.

Harper posted an Instagram video Wednesday afternoon, with a fresh cut, and thanked fans for continuing to pack Nats Park. In the video he says he looks forward to "chasing that championship" again next spring. 

The 2017 season could be described as a rough one for Harper after missing the last few weeks of the season with a bone bruise in his left knee. 

Harper had a .319 average during the 2017 season, along with 29 home runs, 97 RBI's, 95 runs scored and 4 stolen bases. He is entering the final year of his contract.

RELATED: 20 THINGS SAD D.C. SPORTS FANS SHOULD BE HAPPY ABOUT

National Fans. Thank you!💯 #RedLightRecording

A post shared by Bryce Harper (@bharper3407) on

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

On Thursday night, a Washington, D.C. pro sports team did something Washington, D.C. pro sports teams are very good at doing: fall short of making a league or championship game.

The Nationals' disastrous fifth inning against the Cubs in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series was the beginning of the end, not to mention yet another in a long line of disappointing playoff results for Washington, D.C. sports teams.

You see, Washington, D.C. is the only city with at least three major pro sports teams to not have a single one make a conference or league championship game since 2000.

To make matters worse, Washington, D.C. sports teams have now lost 16 consecutive playoff games in which a win would've advanced the team to the conference or league championship. 

Think about that for a second. Four teams. Zero conference championship appearances since 1998. 

Here's the list.

Washington, D.C. sports fans are not greedy. We can't be. We've had some very good teams recently, with the type of talent, coaching and intangibles needed to win a championship. 

TRY THIS: 20 THINGS DC SPORTS FANS SHOULD BE HAPPY ABOUT. YES, HAPPY.

The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team won a world championship was in 1992 when the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI.  The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team even made a conference championship game was in 1998, when the Capitals advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, defeating the Sabres to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Washington, D.C. isn't allowed to have nice sports things.

Sure, we have great players and great teams, but when the playoffs roll around, all the nice things go away. We aren't privy to plucky upstarts who run the table and we aren't privy to dominant teams that make long postseason runs.

Washington, D.C. will have its day, eventually. Sure it may only be a conference championship appearance, but for us, that's fine. We don't expect world championships. We just want something to get invested in.

Early playoff exits are rarely worth the investment.