And once again, the Nationals head into their offseason without a victorious postseason series.

“Got to take that next step and do the best we can,” Bryce Harper after striking out as the final out of a 9-8 loss to the Cubs in Game 5 of the NLDS on Thursday night. “Come back in spring training and get back at it.”

In the simplest of terms, starter Gio Gonzalez, who gave Washington three ineffective innings in the defeat that sent the defending champion Cubs on to face the Dodgers in the NLCS (a third straight for Chicago), said simply, “The season is over.”

There were culprits everywhere for this defeat. And with a fourth playoff series failure by the franchise (and the fifth all-time; their previous incarnation, the Montreal Expos, went 1-and-1 in playoff series), no one knows what the team will look like next season. Harper didn’t even venture a guess on the status of manager Dusty Baker.