Nationals struggle vs Marlins' Nathan Eovaldi: Adam LaRoche HR a blast though

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals' first baseman Adam LaRoche's two-run home run off Miami Marlins' starter Nathan Eovaldi was a massive one, but it accounted for the only two runs the Nats scored in their 3-2 loss to the Fish on Monday.

Adam LaRoche was 4 for 8 with a double off Miami Marlins' starter Nathan Eovaldi in his career before he faced the 24-year-old right-hander on Monday afternoon in the nation's capital.

"I feel we just didn't give ourselves a ton of opportunities. Not sloppy, we didn't beat ourselves in any way, just weren't on base enough." - Adam LaRoche on loss to Marlins on Monday

In yesterday's Memorial Day matchup with the Marlins, LaRoche was 1 for 4 with a monster two-run home run to right that reached the upper deck in Nationals Park and accounted for the only runs the Nats scored in the 3-2 loss to their NL East rivals.

LaRoche's hit was one of just three Eovaldi allowed in 6 1/3 IP, however, as the Nationals' offense once again struggled to produce runs, and failed to put, "the big inning together," as their 34-year-old first baseman put it.

"It was a frustrating game today," LaRoche told reporters after the loss. "I feel we just didn't give ourselves a ton of opportunities. Not sloppy, we didn't beat ourselves in any way, just weren't on base enough. Frustrating loss."


Eovaldi, LaRoche said, was, "... really good. You've got a guy that's throwing -- can get it up to 95-96 with some offspeed to go behind that and spotting the ball. He was good. We've faced him before, we know what he's got. I think we all got some pitches to hit. We've got to do a better job than that."

"He's got the hardest fastball in the game. And if he can command it then he's tough to hit..." -Matt Williams on Marlins' starter Nathan Eovaldi

In three starts and 15 IP against the Nationals before the series opener in D.C., the Marlins' right-hander allowed 20 hits and 10 ER (6.00 ERA) with Nats' hitters putting up a combined .317/.368/.460 line against the '08 Dodgers' 11th Round pick acquired by Miami in the deal that sent Hanley Ramirez to Los Angeles.

"He's got the hardest fastball in the game," Matt Williams said after the Nationals fell to 25-26 on the year. "And if he can command it then he's tough to hit. Today he did. He pitched well."

Williams expected more from the Nats' offense though.

"They expect more from themselves," he said. "We've got to give ourselves a better chance. Everybody knows that. It's well-documented and everybody has been talking about it. But, some positive signs today. Certainly from [Adam LaRoche] back in the lineup and got one today."

The first-year skipper agreed with his first baseman's assessment of the Nationals' offensive struggles.

The big inning they needed never materialized and they failed to string hits together to make something happening with Jayson Werth's single and LaRoche's home run in the first two at bats of the sixth the only consecutive hits of the day for the Nationals.

"Right now it's a question of getting that big hit when we need it," Williams explained.

"It hasn't happened. For the most part anyway. So, keep grinding. Keep approaching it the same way. Bunch base hits together and we've got the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark, but the key for us is to bunch base hits."

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