At the All Star break, Nationals fans and media pundits alike assumed that Washington would eventually get healthy and run away with its second consecutive divisional crown. At this point, it’s safe to say the assumptions were wrong.

Washington Nationals pitcher Joe Ross works against the San Francisco Giants in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Washington Nationals pitcher Joe Ross works against the San Francisco Giants at a baseball game in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Washington Nationals’ Danny Espinosa, right, is congratulated by Michael Taylor (3) after hitting a home run against the San Francisco Giants in the ninth inning of a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Washington has won just 12 of 36 games since July 6, including a five-game slump during the biggest road trip of the season between Aug. 11 and Aug. 15.

Somehow, the Nats’ grip on the National League East has seemed to slip away, and it may be for a myriad of reasons.  Whether it’s the starters not pitching well enough, the bullpen faltering in crucial situations, the lack of clutch at-bats, or poor managing, this team just hasn’t had the moxie it showed last season.

Other than MVP-level play from Bryce Harper, a standout season from Yunel Escobar and possibly Danny Espinosa, it’ll be  hard-pressed to find anyone else on the roster that has played up to his individual capabilities.

Injuries can no longer be used as an excuse. The same reasons Washington hasn’t advanced in October has come back to rear its ugly head.  For some reason, when the pressure mounts, this team just wilts.  You can see it in every at-bat and in every managerial decision.

Second-year Manager Matt Williams likes to put on a united, calming front to the media, but obviously that method isn’t working.

Perhaps, a new method is needed.

This team, for all its regular season success, hasn’t had any reason to panic in years past.  But maybe someone should actually hit the panic button to wake the team up.

Where is the player to call a team meeting? Where is the player (besides Bryce Harper) to actually act like they give a damn?  Where are your “team leaders,” supposedly Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman?  This is the time you are supposed to lead by example.

Washington Nationals’ Jayson Werth swings against the San Francisco Giants during a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

In all honesty, if this season ends without a playoff berth, which is probably the end result

Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper is congratulated after scoring against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in San Francisco. Harper scored on a double by Nationals’ Yunel Escobar. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

with the New York Mets opening a 4 1/2 game lead in the division, heads should roll.  General manager Mike Rizzo should then pass on every free agent on the team, and that includes Denard Span, Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister.

The Nationals may be in need of an internal makeover.  A new way of fundamentally attacking the game of baseball.  Washington fans don’t want to see seven batters in the lineup trying to jack for home runs every at-bat.  The team needs players who may not put up gaudy numbers, but will do all the little things this team has never done. The little things that add up to big moments, like moving the base-runners over with less than two outs, laying down bunts, inducing double plays to get out of jams, gutting out seven innings when you don’t have your best stuff, and being the guy to get the big hit when your team is slumping.

Until we see that at Nationals Park, don’t expect to see any championship parades in the district.