DETROIT - Adam LaRoche’s tone doesn’t change much regardless of the outcome of a game.
He’s a quiet, calm presence in the Nationals’ clubhouse after losses, and he’s the same after big wins.
But LaRoche seemed even a bit more beaten down than normal after today’s 11-1 loss at the hands of the Tigers, a game where the Nats trailed 5-1 after two innings and 10-1 after four.
“You don’t want to say we’ve gotten used to it, by any means, but it seems like we’ve had a few of these games where we’re down and, you know, in a big hole early,” LaRoche said. “Again, missed some opportunities. I had some chances to drive some guys in. Everything they had, if they got jammed it found a hole, if they hit it on the screws it was a base hit. It seems like a couple days where not a lot went our way on the defensive side and offensively (we) didn’t take advantage of some situations.”
Are the Nats frustrated with the way they’ve been unable to generate any type of consistently positive play?
“No I mean, that was two months ago,” LaRoche said. “We were scratching our heads two months ago trying to figure out what was going on. Again, we find it for a couple days and then it’s gone. It’s a group effort. We’re all in this together. Fight to the end, see what happens, but stretches like these last two get pretty old.”
Gio Gonzalez went just 3 1/3 innings today, allowing 10 runs on 11 hits.
“Just didn’t feel comfortable on the mound,” Gonzalez said. “I was just trying to find my arm slot, but there’s no excuses. You’ve got to go out there and attack the strike zone. Can’t make mistake pitches to a good-hitting team. These are one of those losses that you learn from. Hope to pitch better next start.”
Catcher Kurt Suzuki noted that Gonzalez was having trouble locating his curveball, which made it hard to get the other pitches by a dangerous Tigers lineup. Gonzalez was consistently behind in counts, making it even more difficult to have success, hence the 10 runs allowed compared to 10 outs recorded.
“It’s pretty tough when you really aren’t throwing your breaking balls for strikes,” Suzuki said. “You got to throw your heater. Good teams like that, if you can eliminate a pitch from Gio, against any pitcher, it becomes tough. It was a tough one. Gio did make some good pitches that got hit, but hitting is contagious.”
What can Gonzalez learn from a start like this?
“Got to learn how to attack the strike zone,” he said. “If your curveball and your fastball are not on command you’ve got to go out there and keep pounding. It’s a lot easier said than done. If it came in a box everybody would do it. If there was one of those easy buttons you could push, it’s not there. It’s one of those things you have to learn from, move forward. It won’t be the last. You just keep learning. Baseball’s all about learning and I’m still learning throughout my career.
“Got to turn the page, move forward. I’m not going to let this game dictate who I am. I’m a better pitcher than I showed today. I’ve just got to learn how to turn the page and feel better about myself tomorrow.”