Talking Nationals with The Ivy Drip: On Adam LaRoche, Nats' RHP Stephen Strasburg

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals return to Wrigley Field for the first time this season on Thursday to start a four-game set that wraps up with a doubleheader on Saturday. We talked to The Ivy Drip, an online publication covering the Cubs that is available by subscription.

The Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs play seven games in the next couple of weeks starting with four-game set in Wrigley Field that starts this Thursday and wraps up with a doubleheader on Saturday.

That's right, the Nats have Sunday off this weekend if you forgot about that little schedule quirk when the 2014 schedule was released this past winter.

"I just didn't pitch enough. Got too one-sided on the plate and they made the adjustment." -Stephen Strasburg on facing the Braves on Friday

The day night doubleheader is being played that day, as The Washington Post's James Wagner reported this winter, to, "... accommodate the neighborhood traffic and congestion as a result of Chicago’s annual Pride Parade on June 29."

It should make for a great day of baseball on Saturday and a nice Sunday of rest in the middle of the season. In anticipation of that series and before things start up in Milwaukee, we talked to one of the writers at The Ivy Drip, an online subscription publication with some great coverage of the Cubs and Chicago sports.

There's a link to the full Q&A below, and we've included two questions and answers here:

One player who is having a much improved year is Adam LaRoche, who is on pace to have a career-best year. What's different about him this season?

I think the biggest is that he's healthy. LaRoche, in 2012, hit a career-high in home runs, put up a .271/.343/.510 line, and finished a career-best +3.3 fWAR. Last season, however, he dealt with issues with his ADD medication, had trouble keeping weight on and after the season underwent surgery to remove loose bodies from his elbow, so I'm not sure if he was ever really healthy in 2013 and his production dropped significantly. He finished +0.3 fWAR with a .237/.332/.403 line and 20 HRs. He also struggled to hit lefties, putting up a .198/.254/.313 line vs LHP, down from .268/.319/.506 in the previous season. So far this season he has a .326/.446/.391 line vs LHPs. It's a small sample size of 56 PAs, of course, but he's looked much better at the plate overall and there are no issues with his health that have been reported thus far.

Maybe he's flying under the Kershaw-HudsonTanaka radar, but Stephen Strasburg is having a dominant season with an almost 6-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. How has he improved and why isn't he getting more attention?

Most of the attention he's been getting has been of the "Maybe he's not as good as we thought"-variety too, which is strange to anyone who watches him on a daily basis. While his ERA is the 23rd lowest among starters in the NL, he's got the National League's second lowest FIP (2.43) behind only Adam Wainwright (2.39). His 10.89 K/9 are the highest in the NL. He's tied with Wainwright for the NL lead in fWAR (+2.8). His 1.80 BB/9 are the 10th lowest in the NL. He has the highest BABIP in the NL right now too (.356), which is up over a .263 BABIP from last season and a career .301 mark, so that will likely come down at some point. I just think he's matured more, he's made some adjustments --  how he pushes off the mound -- (which has improved his fastball command), and a little bit further away from Tommy John surgery he's just continued to develop. Why isn't he getting more attention? He's been around for a while? There are new "next big things"?

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Federal Baseball

You must be a member of Federal Baseball to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Federal Baseball. You should read them.

Join Federal Baseball

You must be a member of Federal Baseball to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Federal Baseball. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker