It’s August; the days are growing a little shorter, the nights just a tad bit cooler, and the sweet murmur of the crickets at night now portend back to school and the coming fall (always has for me). For the long baseball season, the games are more meaningful, too. Those late inning battles in one-run games between teams at the top their division take on more importance. The contenders step up. The pretenders fade away. If you’re a Nats fan, this is not a good sign, particularly if you’re following this weekend’s series with the New York Mets. The Mets look like a real team, a team poised to take on the Nats and assume control of the NL East Division. You can see it their eyes, whether it be pitcher Jacob deGrom or first baseman Lucas Duda. During this series, the Mets have been winning those late inning battles with the Nats. Last night when Duda came up to bat in the 7th inning against Nats pitcher Joe Ross, after homering his previous at bat against Ross in the 4th inning, you just sensed trouble was in the offing. Duda had that look in his eyes, that August/September contender look, not to mention a hot home run swing that said don’t give him anything close to hit. If you’re the Washington Nationals, it’s time to put up or shut up and start winning. For whatever reason, what they’re doing right now, even with a healthy line-up, is not enough. Something’s missing, club house chemistry, cohesion, it’s just not there right now. There’s still enough time, but the season’s getting late, early.