Following this afternoon’s 5-2 loss to the Reds, in which Adam LaRoche went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, making him 0-for-his-last-26, a frustrated LaRoche was asked how he feels at the plate right now.
“Probably about as good as it looks,” he said.
Yeah, LaRoche is upset at himself for how he’s been playing lately. He has 13 strikeouts in his last eight games and doesn’t have a hit in more than a week.
But he’s going to keep fighting, trying to claw out of this deep slump and get back to his normal self.
“I’ve got one of two options here: I either keep my head up and keep swinging or I pack up and go home,” LaRoche said. “I’m not ready to go home yet.
“It helps when the team wins; (winning) three of the last four has made it a lot easier. Just don’t sweat it as much. Come out of a game like today, game where you leave some guys on base, and we end up losing, makes it a lot tougher. Other than that, I’ve been through a bunch of them, went through one last year for 2-3 weeks. Always seem to come out of it.”
Manager Davey Johnson has stuck by LaRoche and will continue to do so, putting him in the lineup and trusting that he’ll fight his way out of this slump.
“He’s been great,” LaRoche said. “He gave me the option today to play or to sit. He’s doing everything he can. I’ve been working just picking everybody’s brain so if somebody can pinpoint something I’m not seeing. I’ll continue to watch film and work through it.”
If you throw out his injury plagued (and shortened) 2011 season, LaRoche has never hit below .259 in his 10-year career and he’s never finished a season hitting higher than .285. He’s an incredibly streaky hitter, but one that always seems to settle into the same area when it’s all said and done.
Asked if he would prefer to be the type of hitter who is more consistent and avoids the red-hot stretches and the super-cold ones, LaRoche paused for a second.
“A little bit,” he said. “I think it’d be a lot less stressful to be a .270 hitter all year long instead of hitting .350 one week and .150 the next But again, that’s me, that’s what I’ve done. You look throughout the year, the inconsistency, the overall numbers seem to be very consistent every year, so I don’t know.”
LaRoche plans to keep watching tape, comparing his good at-bats to his bad ones and trying to pick up on anything. He’ll also keep taking extra swings in the cage, trying to improve his timing, which he says has been somewhat inconsistent.
“It comes and goes,” he said. “A pitch or two it’ll feel good. I feel like every at-bat right now I’m 1-2. Before the at-bat even starts I feel like I’ve got a strike or two on me. It’s tough to hit like that. It’s tough to hit in a defensive mode and I’ve never been successful hitting on the defensive side so I’m going to stay aggressive and expect it to turn.”