Results tagged ‘ Adam LaRoche ’
On Wednesday morning, a vision seven years in the making finally came to fruition.
From the very beginning, the Lerner Family envisioned that the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation would be a way for people to channel their passion for the game of baseball into making a difference in the community. Similar to their plan to build the team on the field, the Lerner’s were committed to building something meaningful with long-term value off the field as well.
The first ambitious project stemmed from a conversation between Dr. Fran Cogen and Dream Foundation Chair and Nationals Principal Owner Marla Lerner Tanenbaum. It focused on bringing a world class, state-of-the-art diabetes treatment and research center to the District. What began with a passionate exchange of ideas seven years ago became a reality when the Nationals and Children’s National Medical Center cut the ribbon on the Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex.
Tanenbaum conveyed just how much the project meant to her family, the team and the Dream Foundation in her speech on Wednesday:
“The Dream Foundation was originally created to develop and support programs that could positively change the lives of people in our community…The Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex is an example of baseball bringing out the best in people and I can’t begin to express how excited we are to be here today.”
In addition to the team’s principal owners and several front office executives, Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations & General Manager Mike Rizzo as well as Nationals players Ross Detwiler, Gio Gonzalez, Adam LaRoche, Ryan Mattheus, Stephen Strasburg and Chad Tracy were all on hand to commemorate the occasion, which also included a special appearance from Screech.
As Dr. Cogen said in her address to the standing room-only crowd on hand for the event, “Visions can be helpful, but without people to support you, they remain visions.” Thanks to the help of the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, she had the support she needed to make an idea become reality. On Wednesday Dr. Cogen was officially named Director of the Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex.
“It’s surreal,” she said after soaking in the moment. “It’s like taking a vision in your head, thinking this is what one would want to do, and actually seeing it come true before your eyes.”
Tanenbaum shares Dr. Cogen’s passion for this project, and used her own term to describe its completion.
“To use the word in our foundation, it’s a dream,” she said. “It’s a dream come true.”
The complex provides a place where children can go for treatment and education about diabetes, but its mission is more than that. It also includes a family reception area, resource and media center, as well as a playroom for young patients and their siblings. The design, with soft lighting and colors, gives the facility a feel more akin to an after-school center than a hospital wing. It even includes a galley kitchen and exercise room to help emphasize nutritional education and physical education, two key components in fighting diabetes.
“I come to work every day hoping that I can do some good,” said Cogen, who believes this facility allows her team the opportunity to take their care to an unprecedented level. “Putting our own diabetes team together with multiple specialists can deliver a win.”
Opening the doors Wednesday provided the first of hopefully many victories. As the Dream Foundation broadens its focus to its other major projects, like the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy in Ward 7, the completion of the Diabetes Care Complex marks an important milestone in the history of the charitable arm of the organization.
“It’s remarkable to see the kids walk through the door,” said Tanenbaum, when reflecting on the mission of the center to help find a cure for the disease. “Hopefully, though, one day, they won’t have to use it at all.”
Until then, the doors will be open at the Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex for the children of the Capital Region.
New York Mets (22-33) vs. Washington Nationals (29-29)
RHP Dillon Gee (3-6, 5.68) vs. RHP Dan Haren (4-6, 5.09)
After 57 games without a walk-off win, the Nationals earned their first of the 2013 season last night off the bat of Steve Lombardozzi, who looped a sac fly to left with to score Adam LaRoche from third base in the ninth inning. With Dan Haren on the mound tonight, the Nats look to build off last night’s late rally and provide better run support, after only collecting three hits in Haren’s last start against the Orioles.
1. Span CF
2. Werth RF
3. Zimmerman 3B
4. LaRoche 1B
5. Desmond SS
6. Rendon 2B
7. Lombardozzi LF
8. Suzuki C
9. Haren RHP
NOW THAT’S A PLATE APPEARANCE
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Steve Lombardozzi’s nine-pitch sac fly was the longest plate appearance of the season to conclude in a game-ending RBI. In fact, the last player to end a game with a plate appearance lasting in excess of nine pitches was Jayson Werth, who homered on the 13th pitch of his ninth-inning at-bat in Game 4 of the National League Division Series against St. Louis to give the Nationals a 2-1 win.
The Nationals are 22-5 when scoring first in 2013 and their corresponding .815 winning percentage ranks second among National League teams behind only Atlanta (24-3, .889).
GOOD WOOD, SLICK LEATHER
Ian Desmond has hit safely in eight straight games at a .333 clip (10-for-30) with three doubles, two homers, three RBI, a walk and four runs scored. Defensively, Desmond has played 39 consecutive errorless games (155 total chances) since last committing an error on April 21 against the New York Mets at Citi Field.
It’s actually hard to believe.
As Adam LaRoche tagged from third and raced home, his slide into beating the throw from left field to hand Washington a 3-2 victory Tuesday night, it was the first time the Nationals had recorded a walk-off win since Jayson Werth’s mammoth home run in Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS.
Of course, there was some symmetry to the fact that Werth was back in the dugout for his first game after over a month on the shelf. And though he was not personally a factor in the ninth-inning rally that turned what was looking like a gloomy, 2-1 defeat into a rousing, 3-2 win, there he was on the top step of the dugout, cheering and encouraging teammates.
“I’ve got all the confidence in the world in this team,” said Werth in the clubhouse after the big emotional victory. “It’s time to get going.”
To that point in the game, the only run had come via an Ian Desmond solo home run in the fourth. Otherwise, their best scoring chance came with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth.
Until Tuesday night, Washington had only notched two ninth-inning runs in 57 games. The Nationals had to buck that trend as well to keep from wasting another brilliant start from Jordan Zimmermann, who allowed just a pair of unearned runs over eight strong innings. They did so, just in the nick of time.
“I was out of breath,” said Steve Lombardozzi of the celebratory dog pile on the field for his first Major League walk-off. “I think I blacked out for a little bit there.”
Fans who followed the Nationals closely last year may have felt the same way. For a moment, the excitement, the passion, the energy that the 2013 edition of the squad has been looking to rekindle could be seen flowing through the huddle out in front of home plate.
The team was looking for a spark. They got it when they needed it most, at the last possible moment Tuesday night. Now it’s time to build a fire.
6.4.13 – Nationals 3, Mets 2
Stat of the Game: Steve Lombardozzi delivered Washington’s first walk-off win of the season, capping a two-run ninth with a game-winning sacrifice fly.
Under-the-Radar Performance: Ian Desmond extended his hitting streak to eight games with his eighth home run, then doubled in the ninth to move the winning run to third base.
It Was Over When: Lombardozzi’s fly ball forced Mets left fielder Mike Baxter deep enough on his heels to allow Adam LaRoche to race home from third with the winning run.
Washington Nationals (28-27) vs. Atlanta Braves (32-22)
LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.90) vs. RHP Tim Hudson (4-4, 5.37)
The Nationals snagged the series opener for their third consecutive win over the Braves at Turner Field with a 3-2 victory Friday night. Tonight, they’ll send Gio Gonzalez to the mound, who notched a 2.48 ERA over his five May starts. The Braves will counter with Tim Hudson, who is 0-3 with an 8.69 ERA (19 ER/19.2 IP) over his last four outings.
1. Span CF
2. Lombardozzi LF
3. Zimmerman 3B
4. LaRoche 1B
5. Desmond SS
6. Bernadina RF
7. Espinosa 2B
8. Suzuki C
9. Gonzalez LHP
Craig Stammen picked up the win last night with a career-high 4.0 perfect relief innings, in which he fanned three and retired all 12 batters faced. No reliever in Nationals (‘05-present) history has ever faced as many batters in an appearance without allowing a baserunner. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last reliever in Nationals/Expos franchise history to pitch 4.0 or more innings without allowing a baserunner was Sun-Woo Kim (13 batters in 4.1 IP) on May 10, 2004 vs. Kansas City. The longest such relief appearance in franchise history was posted by Jackie Brown (18 batters in 6.0 IP) on May 21, 1977 vs. San Diego.
The Nationals went 15-13 in May, which was no small feat considering they played 18 of their 28 games on the road. Dating to September 2011, the Nationals have played winning baseball in eight of the last nine months. Adam LaRoche led the way for the Nationals in nearly every offensive category, including average (.330), on-base percentage (.416), slugging percentage (.608), walks (15), hits (32), home runs (seven) and RBI (19).
GETTING THE CALL
The Nationals recalled right-handed pitcher Erik Davis from Triple-A Syracuse, who has pitched in 167 games over six Minor League seasons, but is wearing a Major League uniform for the first time. After going 8-3 with a 2.71 ERA and 74 strikeouts against 20 walks in 73.0 innings between Double-A Harrisburg and Syracuse last season, Davis was added to the 40-man roster this offseason. He went 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA (8 ER/24.0 IP) and 27 strikeouts with the Chiefs prior to his call-up.
Washington Nationals (27-26) vs. Baltimore Orioles (29-24)
RHP Dan Haren (4-5, 5.43) vs. RHP Freddy Garcia (1-2, 4.61)
For all the things Ryan Zimmerman has done as a Washington National, Wednesday night brought with it a career first: a three-home run game. Zimmerman hit his three rockets in typical fashion, too, pulling one into the bullpens in left-center, squaring the second shot to straightaway center, then going with a high fastball and blasting the final shot out to right. And while the accomplishment was somewhat overshadowed by the game’s final result, it was a great sign for a crucial member of Washington’s lineup.
With both Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth still out, the month-long resurgence of Adam LaRoche has helped to fill the offensive void. But a hot-swinging Zimmerman – who doubled his yearly long ball total with his three Wednesday night – marks another key component to the bats supporting the excellent job done by the pitching staff so far this season.
“Tonight everything kind of came together in one game,” said Zimmerman Wednesday night, a statement that was not just limited to hit power display.
Coming off of offseason shoulder surgery, Zimmerman has been working to find his groove again defensively at third base. The one-time Gold Glove Award winner looked every bit of that, turning in a pair of highlight-reel defensive gems.
It was a nice (if entirely coincidental) touch that Zimmerman’s career game would come on World MS Day, the day dedicated to awareness of the condition from which his mother suffers.
1. Span CF
2. Bernadina RF
3. Zimmerman 3B
4. LaRoche DH
5. Desmond SS
6. Moore LF
7. Tracy 1B
8. Suzuki C
9. Espinosa 2B
After plating just 22 runs in nine games (2.4 runs per game) from May 14-22, Nationals bats have warmed up by averaging 5.2 runs per contest since. During the six-game offensive surge, Washington has hit .293/.336/.498 with 11 doubles, two triples and nine home runs. Washington’s .834 OPS ranks fifth in MLB in that span.
THE ORIOLE (PARK) WAY
Before Wednesday’s 9-6 setback at Oriole Park, the Nationals had allowed just seven total runs in their previous four games at Baltimore. Unfortunately for Washington, those four previous contests at Camden Yards included just a single win (3-1 on June 23, 2012) and a trio of 2-1 setbacks.
Steve McCatty’s starting staff has fashioned a 3.42 ERA this season that currently ranks third in MLB behind only the Cardinals (2.61) and Reds (3.19). Last season, Washington paced the National League and ranked second in MLB in starters ERA at 3.40.
When a team is looking to find its offensive stride, as the Nationals have been through much of the early part of the season, they will try just about anything to get going. As baseball is arguably the most superstitious of sports, lineup shuffles will give way to bizarre rituals, including – but certainly not limited to – beard growing. Even manager Davey Johnson has gotten in on the act, sporting an ever-lengthening gray goatee over the recently concluded five-game homestand.
And while Washington’s offense began to pick up a tad – the bats registering three straight double-digit hit totals during the Philadelphia series for the first time since doing the same against the White Sox April April 9-11 – the Nationals hadn’t put together a real breakout game yet. That task was even taller with four regulars – Danny Espinosa, Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos and Jayson Werth – each out of the lineup nursing various injuries.
But the game finally came on a rainy Tuesday night in D.C., and against one of the more unlikely foes available, no less. All year long, the toughest opposing pitchers against the Nationals lineup have been of the young, flame-throwing variety. From the Mets Matt Harvey (who, admittedly, has shut down pretty much everyone) to Los Angeles hurler Clayton Kershaw and his 1.68 ERA, Washington’s bats had struggled to find their timing. All that changed against Baltimore’s Kevin Gausman, who was brushing 98 on the Nationals Park radar gun.
Denard Span lashed the first pitch of the game for a loud out, then Steve Lombardozzi and Ryan Zimmerman each singled to set the stage for the red-hot Adam LaRoche. After laying off the first two pitches out of the strike zone, LaRoche turned on an offering from Gausman and blasted it into the right-centerfield seats. Four batters in, 3-0 Nats.
“When you see a couple guys getting on him early, it boosts everybody’s confidence,” said LaRoche of the first-inning outburst.
For a team that had gone 19-4 when scoring first and 22-4 when plating at least three runs this season, it was a welcome early sign. But what followed in the next eight innings may have signified a much more profound change.
The Orioles came back to tie the game in the fourth against Nathan Karns, called up from Double-A Harrisburg to make his Major League debut. No sooner had Baltimore done so than Tyler Moore and Roger Bernadina, two Nationals still looking to find their groove at the plate, went back-to-back off Gausman, each on a two-strike pitch, to reestablish the three-run lead.
And while four home runs (LaRoche would add another late) will pretty much always win you a game, it was the notable lack of another number that should have Washington fans excited.
In spite of the powerful swings and the high velocity pumping in from the opposing starter, Washington struck out just once Tuesday night. Compare that to the eight whiffs they had against Harvey and the Mets or the 12 against Kershaw in Los Angeles.
LaRoche’s second home run in the eighth inning provided mere icing on the cake of this game and his torrid month of May. After a slow April, the slugging first baseman has put on a display this month, batting .341/.422/.648 with seven homers and 19 RBI, with still three games to play before the calendar reaches June.
With temperatures projected in the 80s and 90s all week in Baltimore and Atlanta, perhaps the Nationals bats will follow the weather and heat up for good, just as they did last season. And despite Moore’s claim that he hopes Davey “looks like Santa by the end of the year,” if LaRoche and the offense can maintain anything close to their recent output amidst the rising temperatures, the skipper may shave his beard sooner rather than later.
Winning on the road in extra innings is one of the hardest things to do in baseball. In fact, one could argue that it’s the toughest overtime scenario in any major sport. Even reaching that point means you’ve already survived a sudden death situation in the bottom of the ninth, and no matter what kind of rally you put together, your opponent will always have the chance to counter. It is perhaps the biggest factor in baseball’s home field advantage, one that extends far beyond the simple comforts of playing in familiar surroundings, in front of the hometown crowd.
But that’s exactly what the Nationals did on Wednesday, scratching out a 10th-inning run to wrestle a 2-1 victory away from the Giants in front of a raucous San Francisco crowd. Bryce Harper made a pair of crucial catches, Adam LaRoche reminded everyone that he’s still a wizard at first base, and Ian Desmond stepped in following an intentional walk to Ryan Zimmerman to deliver the game-winning hit.
“It’s gonna be a good flight back home,” said Gio Gonzalez, who silenced the Giants offense into the eighth inning, but came away with a no decision. “Today was a great example of how they battled, and we fought all the way to the end.”
Athletes will often say that after things go poorly for them, the first thing they want to do is get back to the same situation in which failed in order to have another chance to succeed. For Harper, that meant a chance to track down Hunter Pence’s ball on the warning track in the sixth inning Wednesday, in an eerily similar spot to the ball he couldn’t corral in the ninth inning Tuesday night, leading to the game-tying run. For Rafael Soriano, it meant another one-run lead entrusted to his right arm less than 24 hours after a blown save in the same spot, with a chance to once again lock down a huge road victory.
“People on the outside don’t really understand what kind of a mental hurdle that is,” said Desmond in regards to Harper’s play in particular. “Whether you run into a wall, or you get caught stealing, whatever it may be, to bounce back from it is a huge mental hurdle. That took some big guts today, a lot of guts from everybody.”
There was, perhaps, some fitting irony that it came down to Marco Scutaro – owner of the longest hitting streak in the Majors this year at 19 games – for the final out. Hitless to that point on Wednesday, Scutaro got a decent piece of Soriano’s 2-2 offering, but the ball came to rest in the leather of Roger Bernadina’s glove, a step onto the left field warning track at AT&T Park, snapping Scutaro’s streak as well as Washington’s four-game slide. For a team that has yet to notch a walk-off win following 12 of them last season, it was as close as the Nationals had come all year to that kind of dramatic, momentum-shifting victory.
“It makes the trip home easier,” said manager Davey Johnson of Wednesday’s result. “This was a good road trip to get through, and I’m glad to be coming home with a win, a tough one.”
And so, a 10-game trip full of trials and tribulations ended on a high note. While the Nationals would have liked to win more than four of those contests, the fourth and final victory may prove to be the most important win of the season so far.
Washington Nationals (23-21) vs. San Francisco Giants (24-20)
LHP Zach Duke (0-0, 8.40) vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong (1-4, 8.06)
The Nationals enter the third and final leg of their 10-game California road trip as they take on the Giants in San Francisco. Washington has won the opening contest of each stop of its road trip so far, 5-2 over Los Angeles last Monday and 5-2 again over San Diego on Thursday.
1. Span CF
2. Lombardozzi 2B
3. Harper RF
4. Zimmerman 3B
5. LaRoche 1B
6. Desmond SS
7. Bernadina LF
8. Solano C
9. Duke LHP
ADAM’S SWEET 16
Adam LaRoche enters tonight’s action riding a 16-game hit streak, his career long and the longest by a Nationals player since Ryan Zimmerman hit in 16 straight from August 26-September 12, 2012. During the stretch, which began on May 2, LaRoche has gone 21-for-55 (.382) with nine walks, wo doubles, four homers, nine runs scored and 12 RBI, posting a .462 OBP & 1.098 OPS. His hit streak, which is the second-longest active streak in MLB (Giants Marco Scutaro, 17 games), has raised his average 100 points after hitting just .129 (11-for-85) in his initial 25 games this season.
KURT HANGS 10
Kurt Suzuki has hit in 10 straight games, matching a career-best hit streak (July 1-12, 2009). During his current streak, which began on May 3, the catcher has batted .303 (10-for-33) with two walks, a double, two runs scored and two RBI.
The Nationals are 9-4 against the Giants over the last three seasons (‘11-current), including a 5-1 record last season. Washington went 2-1 last year at AT&T Park, marking their first series win in San Francisco since 2006. The AL Nationals and the New York Giants met twice in the World Series (1924, ‘33). Washington won its only World Championship in ‘24 via a 12-inning, 4-3 victory in Game 7. With 4.0 scoreless innings of relief, Hall-of-Famer Walter Johnson earned the Game 7 win.
Washington Nationals (23-20) vs. San Diego Padres (19-23)
RHP Dan Haren (4-4, 4.76) vs. RHP Andrew Cashner (2-2, 2.84)
Washington goes for the series win in San Diego as the Nationals send Dan Haren to the mound in a battle of right-handers. Haren is 3-2 with a 3.38 ERA in his last five outings, which include three quality starts.
1. Span CF
2. Lombardozzi 2B
3. Zimmerman 3B
4. LaRoche 1B
5. Moore LF
6. Bernadina RF
7. Espinosa SS
8. Suzuki C
9. Haren RHP
RECAPPING JORDAN’S GEM
Jordan Zimmermann took the loss in Saturday’s 2-1 setback at San Diego, but in doing so he registered his Major League-best third complete game this season and eighth quality start (tied for MLB lead). Zimmermann tossed just 85 pitches last night, establishing a new Nationals (‘05-present) record for fewest pitches thrown in a non-rain-shortened, complete-game start. He bettered the previous record of 89 pitches, set by Pedro Astacio in a 5-0 win vs. Atlanta on August 15, 2006.
BARK AND BITE AT PETCO
Thanks in part to three homers in three games this series, Adam LaRoche now has 10 career home runs at Petco Park, which is tops among all players who have never called the park “home” during its existence (Todd Helton, Andruw Jones & Justin Upton are tied for second on that list with nine HR). LaRoche is a career .328 (42-for-128) hitter with 13 doubles, 10 homers and 28 RBI in 35 games at Petco Park. LaRoche’s most career home runs by ballpark: Turner Field (37), PNC Park (36), Nationals Park (23), Chase Field (15), Petco Park (10).
The 3-4-5 hitters in Washington’s lineup have hit a combined .341 (45-for-132) with nine home runs and 27 RBI while pocketing 16 walks and scoring 26 runs in the team’s last 12 games. Those same spots in the order are batting a combined .274 (128-for-468) with 24 HR & 71 RBI overall this season.