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Latest Adam Laroche Items
Down at first base, Adam LaRoche serves as the Washington Nationals' welcoming committee to any runner who's able to reach. This year, he's greeted fewer than in the past, with the team's major league-best pitching staff giving up 114 fewer hits and 32 fewer walks than they had at this time last year.
For so long, the Washington Nationals have looked at the middle part of their lineup and wondered what might be.
In the dugout, in the 12th inning Tuesday night at Nationals Park, as the clock crept toward midnight, Bryce Harper watched. He'd had a front-row seat an inning earlier when Elvin Ramirez, a one-time Washington Nationals' Rule 5 draftee, struck him out on four pitches — and more than one outside the zone.
Late Wednesday night, they sat with their arms hung lifelessly over the dugout railing, watching the final outs of a miserable series go by. Over their three days in Miami, nothing the Washington Nationals did was enough.
In a sweatshirt and shorts, looking relaxed as usual, Ian Desmond sat on a couch inside the visitors' clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday watching an afternoon game. The night before, he'd hit a home run. The night before that, he'd hit a home run. Before that, it was doubles in back-to-back games.
With two outs against him in the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday, Washington trailing Baltimore 6-4, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman sent his 2-2 pitch flying over the left center field wall at Nationals Park to give his team one last chance at completing its comeback.
The first roar came because a tie had been broken. In a game that looked as good as lost early, even with their ace on the mound, the Washington Nationals had clawed their way back. Jesus Flores' solo home run to right-center field was the proof.
It wasn't until the final pitch of the game that the Pittsburgh Pirates finally brought the Washington Nationals to their knees in a literal fashion. Ian Desmond swung through Joel Hanrahan's 0-2 slider after being fed two screaming fastballs, fell to one knee and stared off into the distance down the left field line. Game over, an opportunity lost.
Adam LaRoche's first season in Washington was a disaster. As the tear in the labrum of his left shoulder slowly grew, it derailed the Nationals' first baseman so much so that at this time last year he was a shell of his former self. His season would last 43 games.