LaRoche leaves the yard, Morse leaves early (Nats lock up winning record)

Ross Detwiler is through four scoreless innings having thrown just 52 pitches. Talk about being aggressive in the zone.

That’s the way to attack most lineups, especially this soft-hitting Cubs order.

The Nationals lead 1-0 after four thanks to Adam LaRoche, who blasted his 25th home run of the season in the second inning. The ball came down in the second deck in right.

It was struck fairly well.

LaRoche has been battling a sore back lately, and he was held out of the Nationals’ starting lineup yesterday. But the Nationals first baseman is clearly starting to heat up at the plate, sore back or no sore back.

He now has homers in back-to-back starts and has at least one RBI in his last four starts.

LaRoche is certainly a streaky hitter, and he’s coming off a bit of a brief cold streak of late. But this might indicate that he’s starting to come back around.

Michael Morse, meanwhile, was pulled from the game in the middle of the fourth inning. The left fielder didn’t suffer any visible injury, but Roger Bernadina pinch hit for him to lead off the fourth.

I’ll pass along word on Morse as soon as it becomes available.

Update: Morse left today’s game with right thumb soreness. That’s the same issue he battled in August, an injury which knocked him out of a game against the Giants and then caused him to sit out the following day’s contest, as well.

Update II: Detwiler is through seven scoreless innings, and he’ll hand a 1-0 lead over to the bullpen.

The lefty allowed just four hits and three walks, striking out three. Detwiler’s season ERA now stands at an impressive 3.15 after today’s effort.

Drew Storen will work the eighth for the Nats, who haven’t gotten much done offensively. So far, they’ve done enough, however.

Update III: The Nats beat the Cubs 2-1. Tyler Clippard allowed a run in the ninth but notched his 30th save, and the Nationals recorded their 82nd win of the season, most since the team moved to D.C.

That also means that the Nationals are guaranteed a winning record for the first time. Scratch another goal off the list.

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