Terry Collins

And then there were two: Collins, Melvin appear to be finalists for the Mets job

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With Clint Hurdle looking more and more like he’s destined for Pittsburgh, it’s being reported that the Mets have narrowed their managerial search down to two men: Terry Collins and Bob Melvin.

While Jose Oquendo is on Sandy Alderson’s interview schedule, the New York Times is saying that he’s not “a serious contender.”  Same with AAA manager Ken Oberkfell. Which saddens me a bit, because (a) I liked Oquendo as a player, probably more than I should ever have liked a utility guy; and (b) with Ken Oberkfell being a former Brave, I could revive the conspiracy theory that Atlanta has been sending deep cover agents to infiltrate and ruin the Mets for years. Agent Glavine did such a good job, I’m sure that Agent Oberkfell could too.

But the saddest news in all of this is the apparent end of Wally Backman’s candidacy. Not for the Mets — I continue to believe that he wouldn’t be the best choice — but for the bloggers. I mean, I could easily have gotten another half dozen posts out of all of this, and no it appears that the party is over.

Stephen Strasburg unlikely to pitch in the NLDS

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 07:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals walks off the field after an injury in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on September 7, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
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Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.

Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.

The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.

A.J. Cole fined, suspended five games for throwing at Jung Ho Kang

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Home plate umpire Jordan Baker ejects A.J. Cole #22 of the Washington Nationals in the third inning during the game at PNC Park on September 25, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.

Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.

Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.