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LaRoche finally gets biggest type of hit

8/19/2014

Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche has been getting big hits all month. On Monday, he got the one big hit that had eluded him throughout his career.

The Nationals won another kooky thriller by beating the Arizona Diamondbacks on LaRoche’s first career walk-off home run.

Adam LaRoche
LaRocheLaRoche entered the day with 235 career regular-season homers, the second most of any player who didn’t have a walk-off home run. The only player with more is Mark Teixeira, who has 361, though Teixeira did hit a walk-off homer in the 2009 ALDS against the Minnesota Twins.

The hit continued a big run through August for LaRoche, who has a .306/.419/.677 slash line for the month, with six home runs and 12 RBIs in 17 games. His 1.096 OPS ranks third-best in the National League this month, trailing only Starling Marte (1.154) and Giancarlo Stanton (1.144).

Most HR, With No Walk-Off HR
Regular Season, Entering Monday

He also entered the day with the seventh-highest Win Probability Added in the majors for the month. That stat, found on both Baseball-Reference.com and Fangraphs.com, measures situational performance.

This marked the second time in three days that he hit a key home run late in a game. On Saturday, LaRoche hit a game-tying two-run homer in the eighth inning against Pittsburgh Pirates lefty Tony Watson in a game the Nationals would go on to win.

How he’s hitting

LaRoche is doing this by crushing a pitch in a specific area, the outer half of the plate (and a little bit off the outside corner).

Five of LaRoche’s six home runs this month have come on pitches to that location. He entered the month with only six total home runs on outer-half pitches this season.

LaRoche’s value

LaRoche has been a big part of the Nationals’ success. Washington is 63-41 when he starts, 7-12 when he does not.

His 2.4 Wins Above Replacement are his second most in any major league season.

Elias Sports Bureau Stat of the Day

The Nationals' three consecutive walk-off wins matches a franchise record set by the Montreal Expos from June 26-28, 1988.