Monday, April 29, 2013

Losing patience, LaRoche keeps searching

Photo by USA Today

Adam LaRoche is a historically slow starter with a career .215 average in the month of April, far and away his lowest monthly average in statistical splits. But in 2013 he has been even worse than usual, sitting at a .143 clip on April 29 with 25 strikeouts in 21 games. 

And after going 0-for-4 in Sunday’s loss to the Reds, LaRoche is now on a 26 at-bat hitless streak with 13 strikeouts to boot. Slow starter or not, things are getting out of hand.

The ten-year veteran is used to having trouble out of the gate, he usually comes out of it at some point and finds his stroke. This run of misfortune, however, has him really searching.

I don't know. I don't know what to tell you,” he said. “I've got one of two options here. I either keep my head up, keep swinging or pack up and go home. I'm not ready to go home yet.”

When LaRoche does make contact it seems to either go foul or right into an opponent’s glove. He said he is hitting too defensively because he keeps finding himself behind in counts. On Sunday he was behind 0-2 in three of his four at-bats and fell behind 1-2 the other.

“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,” he said. 

“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.”

On Sunday against the Reds LaRoche's frustration perhaps boiled over in the fifth inning. He was up with the bases loaded and two outs, but struck out looking on an outside fastball from lefty Tony Cingrani. He tossed the bat dramatically and had a lengthy conversation with home umpire Sam Holbrook before walking to the dugout.

LaRoche was dropped to sixth in the lineup for Sunday's game as he continues to search for his stroke. He said manager Davey Johnson has been supportive throughout the stretch, trusting LaRoche as a veteran to be honest with himself.

“He's been great,” LaRoche said. “He gave me the option [Sunday] 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.”

LaRoche has been watching film of his good at-bats from this season and comparing them to his current stretch, looking for positives. He has also been taking extra batting practice before games. Watching his progress closely, Johnson is confident he will pull through.

“It’s just little things. His timing is a little off,” Johnson said. “Maybe his pitch selection is a little off. Trying to make something happen. But he’s a veteran hitter and a good player. He’ll be fine, he’ll come around.”

Davey said he was surprised at LaRoche’s forgettable April because he was so good last season, the first year he coached him. In 2012 LaRoche bucked the trend by hitting .329 with four home runs and 17 RBI in the season’s first month.

Johnson is looking to see more from LaRoche at the plate, but also sees value in the first baseman’s defense, perhaps enough to give him more leeway than the average player. The Nats manager is at least pleased with part of LaRoche’s game and thinks the other half will come around soon.

“He contributes so much just defensively. I like him out there,” Johnson said.

“But his bat will come around. It’ll be nice to get [Ramos] back tomorrow and we’ll get Zim soon, so it’ll pick-up.”

71 comments:

baseballswami said...

If this is really an April curse then it should end soon. If not, then what? Hoping for the best not only for the team but for him-- he is obviously doing everything he can think of.

Gonat said...

A few days ago his April average was .217 Before you factored in 2013 it was .228 There is a difference between a slow starter and an injury.

Do you recall 2011?

JaneB said...

No body is saying anything about an injury here. But I swear his batting stance has changed. He is stiffer in the lower right area of his back when he gets there. I know I sound like a nut, but our angle from the seats is perfect for observing it, and over the years we've made a game of being able to ID the guy by his stance, and looking for similarities between people.

ehay2k said...

LaRoche does look stiff to me as well, even when stretching to field a ball.

However, he's a slow starter, so maybe it comes around. But the other guys are not getting it done. The swings that Desmond takes, in particular, are just not justifiable. And does ANYONE have a two-strike swing adjustment? I will get back on my soapbox and call for a new hitting coach if this continues.

From the WaPo article, a great comment by Det: “Another positive you can take out,” Detwiler said. “They have to go buy new bats.” Good for Det, it means his head is screwed on right.

On to the Barves, where a Nats series win will do wonders for both team's opinion of themselves. :-)

Rabbit34 said...

I don't get these guys. If one of his options is to go home, why not use a third option and go to Potomac?? At least there he can relax and get it all back, instead of hurting the team with every at-bat. Espinosa needs to go along with him. It's ok guys. JUST DO IT as Nike would say.

Gonat said...

http://www.natsinsider.com/2013/04/espinosa-hurting-laroche-struggling.html

Seems this headline from 2 weeks ago is just the continuation.

Joe Seamhead said...

I suggest this read from today's Washington Post by Tom Boswell:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2013/04/28/f025f22e-b05c-11e2-bbf2-a6f9e9d79e19_story.html

I found the paragraph about mid-season last year to be somehow reassuring. Actually, I found the whole column to be calming for me regarding Adam"s struggles.

sjm308 said...

I really don't understand the stiffness either. I don't seem to remember it from last year. He honestly is not an "old" person, but he moves like one. I realize he is one of our older players but seriously, you can see more agile movement out on the softball fields from guys 10 years older than Adam. I am hoping this will be a distant memory in a month or so but I have not seen struggles like this. If this works and he snaps out, Davey should get some praise for sticking with him. I would have bailed by now to at least a platoon with Moore against lefties. Then again, I coached swimming and am a moron (at least I think I was called that).

Go Nats!

D'Gourds said...

I hate to be this cynical but.....it always amazes me how much better players hit in their walk year.

Rich P. said...

“I don't know. I don't know what to tell you,” he said. “I've got one of two options here. I either keep my head up, keep swinging or pack up and go home. I'm not ready to go home yet.”

Sounds like what Adam Dunn was saying up in Chicago year before last. How'd that one turn out? Will Davey give LaRoche the option of challenging Dunn's low mark of .159 for a full season? Will LaRoche take that challenge?

Joe Seamhead said...

From Boz this morning:

LaRoche is so famous for his slumps that he’s a kind of mordant connoisseur of his own annual misery. One year, he was so awful that, in the same season, he went 0 for 20, 0 for 14, 2 for 30 and 2 for 31. In those four tormenting disasters, he went a combined 4 for 95.
-------------------------------------------------
That happened last year. How soon we all forget. There was talk about stiffness in his lower back a couple of weeks ago, but no mention of it again from the club. I think he just needs to relax. He'll be fine. You'll see.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Feelwood, good comparison. Dunn looked fine until his appendicitis and I think he rushed back and never recovered. It played into his head. 0-26 13 Ks. That's awful. Back injury?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Boz, this 0-26 with 13 Ks is his worst slump in his career and he isn't out of it.

Rich P. said...

"D'Gourds said...

I hate to be this cynical but.....it always amazes me how much better players hit in their walk year."

And who's in his walk year right now? Michael Morse. Hit his seventh HR the other day.

natsfan1a said...

From the aforementioned WaPo piece:

LaRoche is so famous for his slumps that he’s a kind of mordant connoisseur of his own annual misery. One year, he was so awful that, in the same season, he went 0 for 20, 0 for 14, 2 for 30 and 2 for 31. In those four tormenting disasters, he went a combined 4 for 95.

Does LaRoche remember what year that was? “No,” he says.

That was last year, the best offensive season of his whole career when he had 33 homers and 100 RBI.

“What?” he says, not comprehending. Then he gets it. Crooked grin.

He looks at the numbers again. Slump and streak, this is your life, LaRoche.

natsfan1a said...

Heading on over to the NIDO now. Later...

Joe Seamhead said...

From Boz this morning:

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Feelwood, sigh Mickey Morse. If he didn't break his finger he'd have 10 or more.

Eric said...

Nice one @8:53, Joe. Great article by Boz overall.

NatsLady said...

Week 4 Stats and best/worst plays for each game.

Nats Stats Week 4

http://ladyandthenats.blogspot.com/2013/04/nats-stats-week-4.html

A DC Wonk said...

And does ANYONE have a two-strike swing adjustment?

Dan Haren!

NatsLady said...

From Twitter.

Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal
Lowest first-swing %: #Nationals’ Suzuki 3.0, #Indians’ Kipnis 4.3, #Twins’ Mauer 6.3, #Mets’ Valdespin 7.4, #RedSox’s Victorino 8.4.

Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal
Highest first-swing %: #Angels’ Hamilton 50.5, #STLCards’ Holliday 48.9, #Yankees’ Overbay 47.4, #Phillies’ Kratz 47.2, #Brewers’ Gomez 47.1

A DC Wonk said...

Oddities to start the week:

- Phillies are 5-11 in games started by Hamels, Halladay, and Lee

- Wandy Rodriguez (pitcher) got a pinch hit

- Anibal Sanchez struck out 17 (JZim, after five starts, only has 19)

- Jeff Keppinger _still_ (86 plate appearances) has his BA (.202) higher than his OBP (.198).

mick said...

I know ALR is well intention, I just think father time is at play here and you cant beat old age when it comes to swinging the bat.

EmDash said...

I think folks were comparing Bruce Bochy favorably for Davey the other day, but he's doing the same thing - playing Marco Scutaro, a veteran player, through a slump and back stiffness. Despite not playing great defense, and losing a game for the Giants in extras against a team in their division by fumbling a tailor-made double play ball. I think that's just what most managers do this time of year - show faith in their starters and let them try to work themselves out of it.

Joe Seamhead said...

mick, maybe you're right, but I try to keep a positive attitude with the Nats. ALR has always been a slow starter, though not this slow, but also is a streak hitter. So is Morse a streak hitter. They have torridly hot streaks and horridly cold streaks. Often players are talking to themselves over the bad streaks, feeling like it will never end, then bingo, they get a hit and they get hot.
Funny, as positive as I try to stay, I'm much more concerned with Espinosa right now. I am not sure his shoulder is his problem, it may be, but Espy strikes me as having issues above his shoulders.

D'Gourds said...

Thank goodness we didn't give him a third year! (which, I admit, I supported!)

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

EmDash, how can you compare Scutaro who was batting .225 on Saturday to anything the Nats are doing?

We wouldn't be complaining if LaRoche was batting .225

It's apples and oranges. Scutaro will be 38 years old and I wouldn't be surprised if it continues that they DFA him or at the very least put him on the DL but last I looked Scutaro is still well above Espinosa and LaRoche in BA.

Joe Seamhead said...

Adam is still saving a ton of errors on off target throws from Ryan, Espy, Desi, Lombo, and Rendon. Any downgrade at first would make it so the pitchers would have to get four, or more outs an inning, thus driving up pitch counts. Even more then is already happening.I still would give Tyler a start, or two, against LHP.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Also Scutaro only has 9 K's this season. He's putting the ball in play.

NatsLady said...

Somehow, I missed this article on "patient hitting." Key stat:

You hear so much talk about "grinding out at-bats" and "making the pitcher throw more pitches" that you would think seeing a lot of pitches is a denominator to success. You would be wrong. There is no correlation between seeing more pitches and winning more games.
Entering this week, only one of the six first-place teams ranked among the top 11 teams in pitches per plate appearance. Five of those 11 teams that saw the most pitches had losing records.
Last year there were 13 teams that ranked above average in most pitches per plate appearance. Nine of those 13 teams did not make the postseason. The two pennant winners, San Francisco and Detroit, ranked 25th and 27th in pitches per plate appearance.


Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mlb/news/20130423/joey-votto-jayson-werth-taking-pitches/#ixzz2RrTiE6jG

EmDash said...

He's also playing poor defense and suffering from a similar possible physical ailment. That's the only point I was trying to make.

NatsLady said...

Here is some further analysis on whether patient hitting and driving up the starter's pitch count is an effective strategy.

One common-sense reason to try to drive up a starter's pitch count is that because teams generally pull their starters after 100 pitches, but are loathe to pitch their good relievers more than an inning at a time, evicting the starter after five innings means that the other team will have to put in a few of their less-than-stellar relievers to cover the extra innings. In fact, a study done by BP's Colin Wyers shows that the earlier a starter exits, the higher the bullpen ERA is for the rest of that game. Teams can try to get at the soft underbelly of the other team's bullpen if they force the starter out early. Assuming that the underbelly remains soft.

Mr. Verducci essentially makes the argument that teams have responded in recent years by fortifying their bullpens. It's hard to tell whether he's right on this one or not, but as he points out, offense is down over the last few years. Maybe this is a case where teams have seen a long-term trend and made a sensible (and successful?) counter-move. If starters are on a pitch count, and relievers are allowed to go only one inning, then it leaves open the "work the starter's pitch count" option. To cover that, teams may have put more resources into developing relievers, and now it's starting to bear fruit. The game of baseball is subject to evolution, just like everything else. Mr. Verducci's main argument seems to be that the "grind out an at-bat" strategy is not silly, just outdated.

Evolution of the patient hitter

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20399

NatsLady said...

Certainly if you have a Craig Stammen to come in after a short start, you have covered the "get the starter out of the game early" approach by opponents. Now, we need Zach Duke to get somewhere close to Stammen in effectiveness, and our "middle relievers" will be as feared as our late relievers--if not more.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Joe Seamhead said...
Adam is still saving a ton of errors on off target throws from Ryan, Espy, Desi, Lombo, and Rendon. Any downgrade at first would make it so the pitchers would have to get four, or more outs an inning, thus driving up pitch counts. Even more then is already happening.I still would give Tyler a start, or two, against LHP.


I think you are exaggerating quite a bit. The errors are a plenty and he hasn't been able to stretch to balls just like with Rendon's throw yesterday or jump high enough on Espi's throw on Saturday or Desmond's wide throw last week.

He's probably saved Ryan Zimmerman a few more errors and that's the sad part of the state of the Nats infield defense that you even notice these plays.

Tyler Moore has actually done a fine job at 1st base in his starts. The Nats had zero errors in Moore's start on April 15. Ryan Zimmerman had an error in Moore's start on April 16 and on Tyler Moore's only other start on April 24th it was a throwing error by Rendon to Espinosa.

Moore has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage so far.

baseballswami said...

I do not see Adam stretching like he did last year. This year he is good and has picked some balls, but his range and reach looks less. Don't count Tyler out at first - in the games he has actually played there he has done well. With more reps and experience this is no reason he can't be a fine first baseman.

Eric said...

Interesting insight into patient hitting, NatsLady.

While it seems clear that patience at the plate corresponds to an uptick in strikeouts, I'd be curious to know how it correlates with, say, DPs.

JD said...


Ghost,

I think Davie is determined to give ALR as much rope as possible because he really is a vital cog in this offense. If you have to go to Moore on a regular basis your lineup becomes very right handed and I am not sure Davie trusts Moore implicitly.

I for one don't believe that ALR lost it all over the winter and given his career tendency to start slowly I am willing to wait this out a good bit longer.

Eric said...

"I do not see Adam stretching like he did last year. This year he is good and has picked some balls, but his range and reach looks less."

I'd be curious to see something like the pitch location graphs showing his average range last year and so far this year. It's possible it's less, but it's also possible (OK, definite) that LaRoche is simply under a microscope, and that fans frustrated with his hitting have expanded his '12 range in their memory.

Still, I'm by no means opposed to Moore getting the occasional start. The worst thing that could happen is that LaRoche's hitting woes bleed into his D. Last night, it was extremely obvious to me that this is not yet the case. But, I have no doubt Davey's got an eye on that, and that he will rest LaRoche at any signs of trouble.

Eric said...

Sorry, in that previous comment, I only meant it's definite that LaRoche is under a microscope. I didn't mean to imply I have definitive knowledge that anyone has a skewed perception of his range now or last season.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD, I'm in agreement except I believe LaRoche is hurt although not seriously. I had said last week when he was 0-12 that a DL stint may help him to get healthy and go on a Minor League rehab assignment and get his head straight.

Someone posted yesterday that the Braves have a similar problem with BJ Upton and sure enough he got benched yesterday.

It's about TEAM not just one player. Davey shouldn't have given LaRoche the choice to play yesterday as Davey should've sat him against the Lefty.

Every day you just hope LaRoche gets a seeing eye hit or a solid hit to break out of this funk and every day it gets worse. Again, maybe today will be his day is all we can hope for but before you do that you have to make contact, a 50% K rate in this 0-26 slump with very weak contact doesn't give you much of a chance to snap out.

Section 222 said...

I'm not giving up on ALR by any means, but hearing that Davey gave him the choice whether to sit out yesterday's game was discouraging. Of course he's going to want to play, or say he wants to play even if he doesn't want to. A day game with a lefty starter was a perfect opportunity to give ALR a rest and some at bats to Ty-Mo. Instead, Davey left that manager's decision to ALR, and he was rewarded by another 0-fer with 3 Ks and 5 men left on base. Nice call Davey.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Look at this pathetic 3 pitch K in LaRoche's 1st AB.

He actually looked at a ball on the inner 1/3 for strike 3.

http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/numlocation.php-pitchSel=571561&game=gid_2013_04_28_cinmlb_wasmlb_1&batterX=19&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=3.gif

Rabbit34 said...

Got a kick out of the Wonks oddity of the week Hamels, Halladay, and Lee 5-11. Here is another oddity of the week: the Nationals are 13-12 in games started by SS, Gonzo, Haren, Det, and Zimm. Haha. I just found it amusing. Life is good.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Section 222 said...
I'm not giving up on ALR by any means, but hearing that Davey gave him the choice whether to sit out yesterday's game was discouraging. Of course he's going to want to play, or say he wants to play even if he doesn't want to. A day game with a lefty starter was a perfect opportunity to give ALR a rest and some at bats to Ty-Mo. Instead, Davey left that manager's decision to ALR, and he was rewarded by another 0-fer with 3 Ks and 5 men left on base. Nice call Davey.

April 29, 2013 10:57 AM


Well said and that's how I feel also. What's even worse is Cingrani pitched to LaRoche in a couple of ABs like "here it is, let's see if you can hit it" and LaRoche couldn't. He did challenge LaRoche with the bases loaded and LaRoche was swinging late for everything.

Yes, his timing is off, his mind is off, but Davey has a whole team to worry about. You don't give a player a choice in that situation to play or not play.

Section 222 said...

That Verducci article on taking pitches was fascinating. Thanks NL. the analysis of Votto reminded me of how we used to feel about Dunn taking pitches (and either walking or striking out) with men on base. "Swing the bat," we used to yell. It does seem a little different with guys like Werth, and particuarly, Span. They aren't really power hitters so the difference between a walk and what they'd do if they hit the ball isn't as great.

JD said...


Mark,

Any word on Sammy Solis? last thing I heard was that he threw 60 pitches on March 8th. I would have thought he'd be back at AA by now.

JD said...

'Yes, his timing is off, his mind is off, but Davey has a whole team to worry about. You don't give a player a choice in that situation to play or not play.'

You do if it's critical to get him going because that helps the whole team. I didn't see the game but according to Nats Lady he had some loud fouls so you never know, he may be taking small steps in the right direction.

As far as injuries I refuse to speculate on something I know nothing about, I trust the Nats brain trust and medical staff to make the right decision in that regard.

Eric said...

Agreed on all fronts JD. Not to mention, and as Davey pointed out, LaRoche made some critical plays at first that kept the game from getting way out of hand. Would've been nice if he pulled a Haren (of all people ;)) and single-handedly won the game for us. But, sigh, he didn't.

Section 222 said...

I don't trust the Nats medical staff at all, but I agree that staying in a Holiday Inn Express last night does not qualify any of us to diagnose an injury to ALR as the reason for his slump. Surely Davey and Rizzo would notice if he's hurt and question him closely about that.

John C. said...

If you sit a guy during his slump, you "lock in" that production and miss any positive correction to the career numbers. If Rendon had stayed healthy and raked last year, you can bet that there would have been a strong movement among posters, many of them the same that want LaRoche benched for Tyler Moore, that would have wanted Zimmerman benched for Anthony Rendon. Which would have deprived the Nats of the amazing second half that Zimmerman put up. In 2011 In 2011, at the age of 36 (he turned 37 in June), Derek Jeter got off to a brutally bad start; in late April he was barely hitting (.221) with no power at all (.235 slugging %). The drumbeat to move him out was loud. Jeter got better, but as late as July 4th he was only hitting .254/.320/.320. But he got hot in July, and in August OPS'd .906. By the end of the season his numbers were close (.297/.355/.388) to his late career normal range – better than his 2010 season but not as good as 2012. Not only would the Yankees have lost that late season resurgence in 2011 if they had benched Jeter, they would have lost his renaissance season in 2012).

The flip side, as noted by an earlier commenter, is Adam Dunn in 2011. And none of us knows which profile LaRoche will follow. I'm glad its not my decision to make.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I keep thinking back to the impact of a player that is almost an automatic out. Espinosa batted 7th in the playoffs. He went 1-15 with 7 K's which is a 47% K rate.

The impact of 3 more hits by Espinosa that weren't outs are the "coulda" to the hypothetical of a slumping player on the outcome of a game result.

With LaRoche stranding runners on base by astounding proportion, do you at least move him back to the 7 or 8 in the lineup to try to minimize the potential impact if ALR continues to struggle?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

John C, your Jeter comparison was fine if it was apples to apples. He didn't have the same K rate, he had poor BABIP.

This is unique and mutually exclusive to anything else in LaRoche's career. He has had weak contact, late swings, swing/miss, and a 50% K rate.

Even players in slumps (if that is what it is) need to sometimes take a day-off, clear their heads and get on it another day.

Davey made a horrible decision not to sit LaRoche against the lefty yesterday. I'm disappointed that Tyler Moore who is batting .364 as a starter (small sample size) wasn't given the opportunity.

Eric said...

"He has had weak contact"

He's had some weak hits, yes, but he's also CRUSHED the ball foul a number of times.

The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. said...

LaRoche isn't hurt, beyond some possible back spasms that would only keep him out of the lineup a day or two anyway. And Davey didn't offer him the choice of play or not yesterday, he asked him what would be the best way to get out of his slump. LaRoche said he needs to play through it. Now he needs to keep up his end of the bargain. He doesn't just need a breakout day, he needs a breakout week. If that doesn't happen soon, Davey will probably follow through with his threat last year to platoon LaRoche. And once he does that, LaRoche will eventually need to bust out of his slump against right handers, or he will end up on the bench. But it's going to be a long, drawn out process. It may take most of the season.

Make no mistake, this is who Adam LaRoche is. This is what you all screamed all winter that the Nats just had to do - sign LaRoche. You got it, now you have to live with it. LaRoche starts slow. But when players get older, even their slow starts can have slow starts. But take heart, next year will be his walk year again. It will be 2012 all over. Until then, as Joey Eischen would say, you can suck on it and you can like it.

Back to lurking...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

John C., Jeter on April 30 2011 was batting .250 with a .311 OBP.

Yes, Jeter was struggling in 2011 due to injuries but you say "in late April he was barely hitting (.221)" and it's just not worth any comparable comparison and again, he ended batting .250 for the month and on April 27th was batting .262. He also sat 8 games in April 2011. How many has LaRoche sat?

Adam LaRoche is Adam LaRoche.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Eric said...
"He has had weak contact"

He's had some weak hits, yes, but he's also CRUSHED the ball foul a number of times.

April 29, 2013 12:19 PM


I truly hope you mean that as a joke. If he CRUSHED it fair and it was caught, then it would mean something. LaRoche swung so late on those foul balls and they were not crushed. They went 375 feet foul, you were just wishing they stayed fair.

Sad.

Eric said...

Nah, he's hit some very long foul balls many times this season, iirc. Maybe I don't.

Anyway, I'm not calling for blood yet. Sad? Maybe.

John C. said...

Ghost, you are missing the forest for trees. Yes, Jeter hit .250 for the month of April (my figures were for April 23rd). Any one day figure is prone to be cherry-picked, which is why I pointed out that the slump lingered through July 4th. But the important part is that Jeter was terrible. The reason that Jeter's BABIP was poor is that he wasn't making solid contact - in the entire month of April Jeter had 2 XBH (both doubles) in 103 plate apperances. He didn't hit his third XBH (again a double) until May 7. He looked as old and slow (he was also 0-2 in stolen base attempts) on offense as he does on defense - and since Jeter was older then (36, turned 37 that June) than LaRoche is now, fan sites teemed with "DUMP HIM NOW" comments. Yes, El Capitan (fans are a fickle bunch). Day after day after day Jeter was asked about the slump, and Girardi was asked about benching Jeter. Girardi hung with Jeter, and was rewarded both in 2011 and 2012. That's my point.

And you are simply wrong about Jeter sitting out in April 2011. As of April 30, 2011, the Yankees had played 24 games, finishing 15-9. Jeter not only started and played in 23 of those games, he finished all but one of them as well.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Eric, I'm not calling for blood either. LaRoche has to get better, right?

I don't care about long foul balls unless they were near misses. He hasn't even shown near misses.

The Nats have 3 pitchers that are hitting better than LaRoche. We saw a professional approach by Haren on Saturday.

LaRoche had Werth and Harper on 1st and 2nd on Saturday and needed to move them up and Davey put an ill-advised double-steal or hit & run on and LaRoche swung through it and Harper was thrown out at 3rd. There were zero outs! Davey is trying to do whatever he can to get LaRoche going and it's cost the team much more than the simple statistics.

That's not even to mention all of his doubleplays which he's at a 22% GIDP ratio which is only the situations with a man on 1st with less than 2 outs.

John C. said...

And yes, Adam LaRoche is Adam LaRoche (yay for tautology!). But that also means that 2013 Adam LaRoche is not 2011 Adam Dunn either.

I have no idea how Adam LaRoche 2013 is going to end up - but then again, no one does. Davey has reason to believe that by continuing to play LaRoche he is acting in the best interests of the Nationals. He may or may not be right - we have to wait and see for that - but it's not a stupid decision.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

John C., I disagree with your games played as I went through full games played. Jeter was injured and they made a decision to rehab him on the field. That was the Yankees decision but he still was getting hits albeit with very little power.

It's just not anywhere near the comparison to LaRoche is all I am saying. We can come up with 100's of comparisons to slumping players.

The closest was Feelwood's comparison to Adam Dunn in 2011 and we all know how that ended up.

John C. said...

And yes, LaRoche is certainly hurting the team right now. Last week a veteran pitcher (Adam Wainwright) blatantly pitched around Harper (and admitted as much after the game) to get to LaRoche - putting the tying runs on base and moving a runner into scoring position. LaRoche struck out. When Zim was struggling Harper was walked to get to Zim; Zim hit a double, which pretty much ended that. That's one reason that LaRoche got dropped in the batting order.

The fact that LaRoche has hurt the team so far is undeniable, but does not resolve the question of whether to bench him going forward. It is one data point among many. The fact (as Boswell points out today) that LaRoche has a history of terrible slumps even in his best season is also a data point. The optimist thinks LaRoche will come around, the pessimist assumes that LaRoche won't, that this is who he is now. Neither is a foolish or impossible viewpoint.

Eric said...

"I don't care about long foul balls unless they were near misses. He hasn't even shown near misses."

Sure he has, especially early on. Regardless, though, even if it's 50 feet wide of fair, strong contact is strong contact. The salient point being, if it's injury holding him back, he wouldn't be able to put power into it regardless of direction.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

John C. yes, of course Davey wants to do the best by the team but I believe he has gone about it the wrong way and it started yesterday with playing LaRoche. I have been saying this for several days now and not reacting out of hindsight. "Davey has reason to believe that by continuing to play LaRoche he is acting in the best interests of the Nationals. He may or may not be right - we have to wait and see for that"

John C. said...

Ghost, your first position was "[Jeter] also sat 8 games in April 2011. How many has LaRoche sat?"
Now it is "the Yankees made a decision to rehab him on the field." Those are not consistent positions to take, unless Jeter sat down at SS. His range was bad, but it wasn't that bad.

You are correct when you say that we can all come up with 100's of comparisons. Yep. They're all over the map, too. That's my point - there is a logical case to be made for playing LaRoche (this is who he has been his whole career), and there is a logical case to be made for sitting him down. Although not one based on "he's killing the Nats!" - that's not the question. The question is whether he will come around or not.

You think Feel Wood's comparison to Adam Dunn is the closest because you are (with regards to LaRoche's production going forward from now) a pessimist. Davey is an optimist. I can understand both positions, and Davey's vote is the one with the hammer. So, for now, LaRoche plays.

Eric said...

Comparison to Dunn bodes well for next season though ;).

Eric said...

Well, at least in terms of power...

Eric said...

PS - I'm a "glass has water in it" kinda guy. I have no idea how for LaRoche at the plate, I just know his D is solid right now and as long as that's the case, I'm happy to see him in the game.

If the rest of the infield and the line up returns to 2012 form, my calculus might change.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I'm done on the subject for today. LaRoche isn't the only one scuffling. Davey has many great things and a few tough ones. It was good to see the Nats take 3 of 4 from the Reds given the issues with the infield.

Eric said...

Ugh, I feel like I'm LaRoche at the plate right now! ;)

"I have no idea how [it will end up] for LaRoche at the plate"

Eric said...

Agreed with your post @1:27 all the way, Ghost.

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