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Supreme Decision

Can Washington win a World Series after benching a star?

John McDonnell/The Washington Post/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals shut down pitcher Stephen Strasburg, causing a capital controversy.

The Washington nationals entered the late-September stretch run with the best record in baseball. That means the nation's capital will host postseason play for the first time since 1933, when FDR was tossing first pitches. But in the tradition of Washington's tortured baseball history--the Nationals have struggled since arriving from Montreal in 2005; the old Washington Senators stank for decades before leaving D.C., twice--success comes with a cruel twist.

The Nats will enter the playoffs without one of their star players--by choice. Starting-pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg was benched in early September, having neared his preassigned limit of 180 innings of work...

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