Prior to borrowing Jayson Werth’s bat out in Milwaukee, Adam LaRoche was in a 1-for-28 slump and had just three extra-base hits in his last 53 at-bats.
Since trying out Werth’s lumber during his third at-bat Saturday night against the Brewers, LaRoche is 4-for-8 with two homers and a double.
That bat won’t be leaving LaRoche’s locker anytime soon, you can count on that.
Actually, this appears to be a different, two-toned version of Werth’s bat, as compared to the all-black one LaRoche used out in Milwaukee. But the bat is the same model, length and weight, and LaRoche seems to be liking it just fine.
He’s 2-for-2 tonight with an RBI double in the first and a single to right in the fourth.
LaRoche’s double in the first plated Ian Desmond from third and it nearly plated Wilson Ramos from first, but Jason Heyward and Andrelton Simmons combined on a perfect 9-6-2 relay that cut down Ramos at the plate for the final out of the inning.
It’s a tough call for third base coach Trent Jewett there; Ramos is not exactly fleet of foot and he’s had hamstring issues this season, but the Nats have really had issues with runners in scoring position this season and it took a textbook relay to get Ramos at the plate.
I don’t have a problem with Jewett sending Ramos, but the circumstances made it a difficult call on the fly. You could argue it either way.
Meanwhile, Stephen Strasburg has looked pretty sharp thus far, tallying seven strikeouts through five innings - all of which have been on offspeed pitches - but he still trails 2-1 midway through the fifth.
The Braves tied the game in the third on Freddie Freeman’s RBI single to right, a knock that came after two infield singles, and Freeman then gave Atlanta their first lead of the contest two innings later when his rocket single to center scored Upton from second. Upton had moved into scoring position by stealing second base with ease, taking off well before Strasburg made a move towards the plate and coasting into second without a throw.
Strasburg lost track of Upton there, and it came back to haunt him when Freeman delivered the run-scoring single shortly thereafter.
Update: The Nats evened things up in the sixth when Anthony Rendon’s line drive to left went for a sac fly that plated Ryan Zimmerman with the Nats’ second run.
Zimmerman and Ramos delivered back-to-back singles to open the sixth, and after LaRoche struck out, Rendon came up big, getting Zimmerman in from third to knot the score 2-2.
Strasburg takes the mound for the seventh having already thrown 103 pitches. He’s struck out nine and scattered five hits.