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Wait is tough for several Nats players on playoff roster bubble

Wait is tough for several Nats players on playoff roster bubble

The four-day layoff for division-winning clubs before their MLB playoffs begin presents a tough dynamic for teams as a whole to try to stay sharp before falling into the intensity of October. It's even tougher for the players on the playoff roster bubble.

The Nationals have plenty of those this year with a deep crop of relievers and a bench that may need an extra guy or two to compensate for injuries in their starting lineup. The Nats have avoided specifics publicly about their thinking for those final roster spots and the players have largely been left in the dark, too. 

Even Clint Robinson, the backup first baseman who has a very good chance of making it, just doesn't know.

"If you want to know the truth, I don't even know if I'm on the playoff roster. We're still waiting on that," Robinson said. "I'm not going to lie and say that [waiting is] easy. It's like the last round of cuts in spring training. You get through the whole year here and then it's like 'man, here comes another round of cuts.' That's not what us as players, that's not usually our thinking."

[RELATED: Tough decisions to make for Nationals playoff roster]

Robinson compared the wait to last spring training when he was one of the final additions to the Nats' Opening Day roster. But then, his mindset was different. He was just looking for a job and his expectations are low. He also had spring training games to play and keep his mind off the final decision itself.

Now it's four full days.

"It stinks, to be honest with you. It stinks," he said. "It's a lot of sitting around, coming out with workouts at 11:30. Everybody just wants to get going. You know the playoffs are right there."

Like Robinson, reliever Sean Burnett is on the roster bubble, though his path to earning a spot isn't quite as clear. Burnett is in a crowded mix of relievers, hoping the fact he's a lefty helps his chances against a Dodgers team that struggles against them.

"They do have a lot of lefties and a bunch of lefties that I've faced throughout my career. I think I've had pretty good success against them. We'll find out what happens," he said.

[RELATED: Dusty Baker: Playoffs 'where I'm supposed to be']

For Burnett to even be at this point is notable in itself. The nine-year veteran made his return to the majors this season after missing all of 2015 with injuries. He's recovered from two Tommy John surgeries and just this season spent time with four different teams. It wasn't until Sept. 3 that he finally got back on the mound in a big league game.

"I've made a lot of progress here in the last couple months. Dating back to a full year ago, looking back on where I've come from, it's pretty neat to be in this opportunity to maybe make a postseason roster," he said. 

"But at the same time, I've gotta look at the big picture and see how far I've come. A year ago, I was sitting at home and watching all this stuff on TV. Now there's a chance, a small chance, that I could be part of it this season. I've made good strides. It was good to get back to the big leagues and have a full year to stay healthy."

Burnett and Robinson are among many Nats players on the bubble still waiting to hear their fate. Some have better chances than others, but only a few will get the call.

[RELATED: Nats not overly concerned injuries will affect defense]

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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.