Adam LaRoche is in the midst of another prolonged slump. Over the last 30 games, the 33-year-old Washington Nationals' first baseman who signed a 2-year/$24M deal this past winter, is 20 for 110 (.182/.248/.345) with four doubles, four home runs, eight walks and 25 Ks in 121 plate appearances. On the year, LaRoche now has a .235/.314/.416 line with 14 doubles and 16 HRs in 423 PAs. Over 107 games, he's been worth +0.2 fWAR to the Nationals this season.
At this point in 2012, in what ended up a .271/.343/.510, 35 double, 33 HR, +3.4 fWAR campaign, LaRoche had a .270/.343/.512 line with 23 doubles and 23 home runs in 105 games and 443 PAs. He also had a .268/.319/.506 line against left-handed pitchers at the end of the Nats' run to the NL East crown. This time around, however, LaRoche, like Denard Span and Bryce Harper, has struggled against lefties, with a platoon-worthy .184/.236/.316 line vs LHP in 106 plate appearances.
So it wasn't a complete shock when LaRoche was left out of tonight's lineup, as the Nationals face Philadelphia Phillies' lefty John Lannan, against whom LaRoche is 0 for 15 in their respective careers. This is how the initial Nationals' lineup looked:
#Nationals lineup vs. PHI: Span 8, Zimmerman 5, Harper 7, Werth 9, Desmond 6, Ramos 2, Tracy 3, Rendon 4, Haren 1— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) August 9, 2013
There was apparently a misunderstanding, however, because less than a half an hour later, the Nationals released another lineup which had LaRoche penciled in and batting sixth for the eighth time this summer:
New #Nationals lineup vs. PHI: Span 8, Zimmerman 5, Harper 7, Werth 9, Desmond 6, LaRoche 3, Ramos 2, Rendon 4, Haren 1— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) August 9, 2013
Davey On LaRoche:
Davey had originally wanted to give Adam LaRoche two days off. Chad Tracy has a stiff neck.— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) August 9, 2013
Span, who has a .151/.211/.179 line against lefties this season, down from .275/.355/.370 in his career and Bryce Harper (.175/.272/.288 vs LHP in 2013) are in the lineup against Lannan as well. But the Phillies' lefty has let left-handers hit for a .288/.351/.365 line so far this season.
The Nationals as a team, however, managed just four hits in eight innings against the pitcher they drafted and developed last time they faced him on July 8th in Philadelphia and they have a .240/.299/.384 line vs LHPs this season, good for 13th in AVG, 14th in OBP and 11th in SLG amongst the National League's 15 teams. Can Lannan shut the Nats down again, or can the Nats beat their 2005 11th Round pick?
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