LaRoche has another reason to celebrate

Adam LaRoche popped champagne with his teammates last night, celebrating the Nationals clinching the NL East division title.

He didn’t exactly have any bubbly waiting for him in the clubhouse tonight after reaching 100 RBIs for the season, but he still took pride in a nice individual goal which he feels also symbolizes how effective the Nats have been offensively as a team.

“It feels pretty good,” LaRoche said. “That’s something that, again, anybody in the middle of the lineup, it’s kind of a milestone to reach 100. If I had finished on 99, it would have been a tough pill to swallow. All that goes to Jayson (Werth), (Bryce Harper) and (Ryan Zimmerman) getting on in front of me all year. It feels good to have a little celebration two nights in a row.”

What’s in store for tonight’s celebration?

“I don’t know. I’m still recovering from last night,” LaRoche said with a smile. “I’ll have to take it easy tonight.”

To new-age stat guys, RBIs might not mean all that much. But for LaRoche, who now has 33 home runs to go along with his triple-digit RBIs after tonight’s solo home run in the sixth, reaching this milestone is significant.

It’s another added bonus in a season which the 32-year-old says has been the best season of his career.

“For a lot of reasons,” LaRoche explained. “Individually, I’m pretty happy with where I’m at. I’ll look back and look at some of the missed opportunities of things I could do better. But the fact that I’ve been able to put together some pretty good numbers, on top of us having tied for the best record in baseball and clinching the division last night, that combination of that I’d say no question, this has been the best year.”

When LaRoche’s home run flew into the Nationals’ bullpen tonight, Tyler Clippard and other Nats relievers pumped their fists. LaRoche blew what looked to be a sigh of relief as he rounded the bases, touched home, and came back to the dugout to high fives and smiles.

He got a big bear hug from Werth, came out of the dugout for a curtain call and heard fans serenading him with chants of “M-V-P!”

“Yeah I’ve heard it a little bit,” LaRoche said. “That’s pretty neat. And to have the curtain call to come out, that doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s great having them pack in here. We need ‘em for another month so hopefully they’ll keep pouring in.”

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