LaRoche’s four strikeouts a symbol of Nationals’ recent offensive woes

The frustration that the Nationals feel as an offense can be summed up in the roughest of nights at the plate for first baseman Adam LaRoche.

Four times he faced one of his best friends, Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright, and four times the right-hander struck out LaRoche.

The strikeout in the sixth was the toughest to take with the bases loaded and his team trailing by 2-0.

Manager Davey Johnson said maybe it is time to get mad. It is obvious that everyone in this clubhouse is extremely concerned with an offense that has now scored just two runs in the past three games and has been shut out twice.

“I think we all are, the whole team is frustrated,” LaRoche said. “What are you going to do? Are you going to try harder, swing harder? That is not going to work. We have to stick to our plan. I expect it to work eventually.”

LaRoche said he does not believe that he is trying to hard at the plate or looking to make too much happen with just one swing.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” LaRoche said. “I can speak for myself. Some of my at-bats, yeah, some of my at-bats, no. I was just inconsistent. Needless to say, they had my number tonight. Punched me out four times and left 100 guys on base. Bad timing with what we are going through.”

LaRoche did wave off the notion that his .172 batting average in April, with only four extra-base hits and 22 strikeouts, is a familiar early season personal struggle at the dish.

“It is day to day, because I started off the season feeling really good,” LaRoche said. “I wasn’t getting any hits, but I was squaring up balls and felt good. It just kind of comes and goes. Right now, I am hitting a skid.”

Now the Nationals are 10-10. They were last at the .500 mark on April 9, 2012, when they were 2-2 following a road loss to the Mets.

“You run through these times like this when you are at rock bottom, it feels like, and our record is not terrible,” LaRoche said. “But you look back and you should have won a lot of these games. We are not scoring runs. For the most part, pitchers have been great. You could say it’s early. But regardless, you hit one of these in April or you hit one of these in September, it is no fun as a team going through it.”

Losing eight of their last 11 is not good and is no fun. But Tuesday was a different kind of day for LaRoche, as he got the opportunity to visit with recovering veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

“I had the pleasure of going to visit some guys at Walter Reed today,” LaRoche said. “And to put things in perspective, our problems here are pretty miniscule compare to what some of those guys are going through. It is a game. I don’t think it is time for drastic changes in here or for guys to lose control. You ride it out. That is why you play 162 of them.”

So should LaRoche look at more film, break down his swing and build it back up? Where does he start?

“Making contact would be a good start,” he said. “I will try to start there.”

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