Nationals 1B Adam LaRoche named co-NL Player of the Week
by Amanda Comak
Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche was named the co-National League Player of the Week on Monday, sharing the honor with San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey. Major League Baseball made the announcement Monday afternoon on MLB Network.
LaRoche, 34, opened the month of September on a powerful tear at the plate as he helped guide the Nationals to two pivotal victories over the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies.
In earning his first NL Player of the Week honors, LaRoche hit .333 (5-for-15) with a .421 on-base percentage, and a 1.133 slugging percentage. Over the course of five games (four starts), four of LaRoche’s five total hits were home runs. He drove in 10 runs, walked three times (one intentional) and was also hit by a pitch.
Wednesday, after being relegated to the Nationals’ bench with a tight back and flu-like symptoms, LaRoche clubbed a game-tying, two-run, pinch-hit home run in the top of the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium to give the Nationals new life. In a wild back-and-forth contest that would last 14 innings, LaRoche drove in five runs – becoming just the second player in the expansion era (since 1961) to enter a game in the ninth inning or later and drive in at least five runs. Harold Baines accomplished the feat on May 4, 1999 for the Baltimore Orioles vs. the Chicago White Sox.
In addition to his game-saving home run, LaRoche gave the Nationals the lead in the top of the 12th with a two-run single to left, and helped break a tie again in the 14th when he beat out a double play to allow Ian Desmond to score what would stand up as the game winning run.
LaRoche followed that performance up by staking the Nationals to an early lead on Friday, hitting his 21st home run of the season in the bottom of the first inning, and kept slugging through the weekend. On Sunday, facing Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, LaRoche homered in his first two at-bats, tying the game both times, for the 24th multi-homer game of his career and his second this season.
LaRoche is the 11th Nationals player to earn NL Player of the Week honors, joining RHP Jordan Zimmermann and OF Jayson Werth from this year’s club.
Prior to 2014, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (periods ending July 22, 2012; June 13, 2010; August 21, 2011; August 5, 2007), right-hander Stephen Strasburg (June 13, 2010), outfielder Josh Willingham (Aug. 2, 2009), shortstop Cristian Guzman (Aug. 31, 2008), utility man Willie Harris (July 20, 2007) and first baseman Nick Johnson (June 6, 2005) earned NL Player of the Week hardware.