HOUSTON - Here's Adam LaRoche's average slash line in March/April for his career: .223/.318/.400/
Here's Adam LaRoche's slash line through 25 games in March/April this season: .312/.413/.495.
LaRoche is traditionally a slow starter. That's no secret to anyone who has followed the Nationals the last few seasons.
That only makes the way that LaRoche has started the 2014 season that much more impressive.
After going 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs in last night's win over the Astros, LaRoche has set a new career high for hits in April with 28. He has now hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games and 21 of his 25 games played this season.
All this from a guy who struggled mightily in 2013 and rarely gets off to a solid start to a season.
"It's just good for him, because again, he's not traditionally a fast starter, but he really focused on it in spring training and really focused on driving one (run) in," manager Matt Williams said last night. "He's going to hit homers with guys on base, but that one is big for us, as evidenced tonight.
"If he can do that, the homers will come. He'll hit his share of homers. But if he can consistently drive runs in like that, then we're a much better team."
Last night, LaRoche drove in the tying run in the eighth with a double off the wall in left-center. He then drove in the eventual game-winning run with a single up the middle in the ninth.
This guy is locked in right now, hitting the ball to all fields and making pitchers pay for their mistakes. He's hitting righties well, he's hitting lefties well and he's helping to carry the Nationals' offense, in a time when Ryan Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos and Bryce Harper are out with injuries.
"(Last year), he was dealing with the weight loss, all the stuff he went through," Jayson Werth said. "It's good to see. He's a big piece of the puzzle here. We're a little banged up right now, so we're going to have to pick up for the guys that aren't on the club right now. We're doing it."
Werth, by the way, continues to absolutely rake, but just isn't getting much to show for it. Or at least he isn't getting as much to show for it as he should.
Yes, he's hitting an impressive .290/.388/.470 this season, but Werth is just destroying baseballs right now.
He absolutely crushed four pitches last night, and ended up with only two hits. In Miami recently, Werth smoked the ball for three straight days, only to see many of those long line drives and fly balls end up in outfielders' mitts. In D.C. on the last homestand, the ball wasn't traveling well, and Werth was robbed of at least a couple of homers by the elements.
If LaRoche can stay hot and Werth can remain locked in, balls could be jumping out of Nationals Park in a few weeks once the weather heats up. Those two are in a zone right now.