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Werth, LaRoche power Nats to victory

Apr 10, 2013, 4:59 AM EDT

Associated Press
Denard Span congratulates Jayson Werth following his two-run homer.

If the Nationals had any concerns about Jayson Werth’s ability to regain his power stroke following last season’s wrist surgery, the veteran right fielder certainly has put those to rest over the last week.

And if anyone had any concern about Adam LaRoche’s ability to avoid his penchant for slow starts — not to mention overcome a bad back — the veteran first baseman emphatically put that to rest during a 30-minute stretch Tuesday night.

Combining for three home runs between the sixth and eighth innings, Werth and LaRoche answered questions about their personal offensive performances while also pacing the Nationals’ potent lineup to an 8-7 victory over the White Sox in which every single run that crossed the plate proved necessary.

On a night in which Gio Gonzalez piled up pitches early, balked in a run and was forced out of the game after only five innings, and on a night in which Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano each served up late home runs to bring Chicago within striking distance, the Nationals needed their lineup to carry the load. They wound up getting production from nearly every starter, pounding out 13 hits, four of them homers.
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  1. peric - Apr 10, 2013 at 5:24 AM

    Uh sorry Mark there's little to no power in Denard Span's bat. Now, if Tyler Moore were in the lineup instead? Then you might be right. So, that's seven bats not eight.

  2. SonnyG10 - Apr 10, 2013 at 5:24 AM

    Quite an offensive show. I think we have enough long ball capability without Morse, so the trade for Span looks good to me.

  3. John C. - Apr 10, 2013 at 5:47 AM

    Technically Peric that wasn't Mark stating his opinion – it was a quote from Adam LaRoche. So your beef is with ALR, not MZ.

  4. baseballswami - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Span brings a lot to the table. I am good with him leading off and playing center. Let the rest of the guys hit him around and in. Soriano? Not as automatic as advertised. Maybe he needed to treat spring training as a little bit more than a waste of time. In general, I hope the pitching tightens up a bit.

  5. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Yeaaa! Tyler Moore didn't strike out.

  6. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    Tough game last night. Our pitchers made it awfully closer than necessary. Good thing that we did not stop scoring.

  7. TimDz - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    As ugly as this was…Good teams will always find a way to win…This is a good team…

  8. mick - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Gooooood Morning! My take from last night starting with the BP is that Drew looked like the 2011 Drew. I truly hope I am correct. I hope he can be the closer. i have doubts on Soriano not just in his ability but his attitude. Clip is shaky and I prefer Mattheus to him. Stammen is soild. I wish we had kept Gonzales.ALR, well what can you say other than welcome back. Werth may be off to a great year. Desi I think will get rolling as will RZim. The sticks were good last night. Our fielding still shaky. Span is simply proven to be a GREAT pick up!

  9. Joe Seamhead - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Davey says that he wasn't worried about ALR's hitting, and I believe him. I wonder at what point he starts to worry about Danny Espinosa at the plate? Is Danny just having bad luck,too?As to Denard Span, I think his performance thus far has been exactly how Mike Rizzo envisioned it except that the guys behind him haven't driven him in as often as hoped, and I expect that will improve. Through seven games, Denard has.a .484 OBP, yet has only scored four runs.

  10. sjm308 - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    Good Morning All:Mick – I think Drew will be the closer in two year, but you don't spend 28 million dollars and then move Soriano to a set up position after 7 games. It is my hope that Drew does get to close again this year and Soriano will need that as well. Right now Davey looks to have Clippard established for the 7th and Drew for the 8th and I think he will stick with that.Seamhead – thanks for that stat on Span. I did not realize he had just scored 4 runs. That does tell a story about production. Again, its only 7 games into the season and 5-2 is pretty damn good. Go Nats!

  11. Steady Eddie - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Actually it's not clear that ALR was necessarily talking about Span in the "eight". He could well have been leaving Span out (no slam on Denard who's there for OBP) and including both catchers. Probably was.

  12. baseballswami - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Coming North we expected dominant pitching, sparkly defense, a no- brainier ninth inning, Drew might be a head case. We got interesting pitching, errors and 14 home runs- most ever in the combined franchises for this early. Drew seems fine. This is a crazy game- you just never know. I think it will be a month to six weeks until things really start to balance out, though. Glad to see ALR and Werth getting into a groove.

  13. sjm308 - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    As hard as it must have been for ALR to go 0 for the first 6 games, I am thinking it must be crazy for Moore and Bernadina who don't get to establish any sort of rhythm to their game. I am guessing that batting practice must be very important to those guys because that is about the only place they can get reps. I realize both have only been up 3 and 4 times respectively but that first hit will certainly be a relief to both. When does this group see either of them or Lombardozzi, actually getting a start? The easy answer is an injury like LaRoche but if no one is hurt, when does Davey start using his bench?

  14. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    I wouldn't call it an ugly win, just that our pitchers did not show up.

  15. Joe Seamhead - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:52 AM

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  16. Joe Seamhead - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    Jayson Werth looks to very comfortable at the plate right now. Not to mention he's crushing the ball, (in spite of his weak wrist). I particularly liked that he hit a 1st pitch homer on his third at bat with the crowd having really gotten into his Werewolves of London walk up song. Seems like that was the fourth time Jayson has swung at the first pitch this year. Seems that he is establishing that he's not going to let opposing pitchers get the cheap first strike on him this year.

  17. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Yesterday he sent another long ball deep in CF I think. That could have been a HR in any other direction.

  18. MicheleS - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    Love that Drake was giving Adam grief. Soriano is quickly descending into HROD inducing levels of Bourbon and Maalox.Love that the Bats broke out last night. And Seamhead, love that Span is producing exactly as desired.So far the pitching has been a bit two shaky for my taste. But i am sure they will settle down soon(crosses fingers)

  19. Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    "[LaRoche] could well have been leaving Span out (no slam on Denard who's there for OBP) and including both catchers."I'm sure he was thinking of Gio as the 8th Element.

  20. Laddie Blah Blah - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    What a difference a year makes. Last year, the Nats were not scoring and were winning with excellent pitching and defense, often on a walk-off wild pitch in extra innings. Remember that?Now, they can't seem to catch or throw, and since the Mets series, the staff can't seem to hold a lead, even a big lead. Not to worry. They are a power-hitting team, and the power is erasing all their other short-comings, and that is without either Zim or Espinoza going deep, as yet.Span has not only got on base, he has reached 2nd base with fewer than 2 outs on several occasions, only to be left stranded. The way Werth has been swinging, he could drive in 100, or close to it.Starting to get a little worried about Zim. He appears to be late on the fast ball, and they are getting him out with it. Something to watch. Espinoza does not have the numbers, but he is making contact much better than last year, and is contributing in small ways, like drawing walks ahead of Ramos' and Suzuki's HRs in Cincy. The way the rest of the Nats are hitting, they are carrying those two.The Nats are not playing well – not playing D, making bonehead plays (Gio's balk is classic brain freeze stuff), and the pen is regularly getting hammered – but they are 5 -2. Wait until they play up to their abilities, instead of like the Keystone Cops.

  21. nats guy - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Hopefully the pitching and defense will come back and stay awhile. Home runs never do. If it weren't for starting with a glorified AA team (Marlins) they would not be 5 and 2. The good news is that they are capable of fixing those two problems. However the bullpen is vastly overrated.

  22. Tcostant - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    I'm not worried about Soriano, he will end the year with 2 or 3 blown saves, like most elite closers – he'll be fine.I am worried about the defense, can't understand all the errors from this team.Braves series will be great drama this weekend.

  23. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    It's amazing having to watch these old guys deteriorate right before our eyes. Werth and LaRoche just don't have it anymore.But there is reason to celebrate. Tonite, with any luck, Anthony Rendon will play his 50th regular season professional game. After going 1 for 3 last night, getting his 4th single of the season, he's raised his AA average to .190. Move over Henry Aaron, here he comes.Just kidding on Rendon. Trying to keep things in perspective. He'll be fine if he can stay healthy.

  24. Tcostant - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    BTW – I saw the comment about Zimm, Davey mentioned the same think that he needs to get going in his post game comments.

  25. Doc - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    Soriano threw nothing but low average FB's–Sorta like BP in a real game. The advance scouts probably couldn't wait to file their reports.

  26. The Fox - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    I don't see anything to really be concerned about so far. 4 of the 5 starters have pitched well and the team line-up does not have an automatic out in it. They are playing a little tight but I don't expect that to continue, there is no way they will makes as many errors as they have so far, fielding will be a strength on this team.The BP has been shaky but I think they are also settling into their receptive roles and it should also solidify. Soriano may be giving up runs but he is not walking people and he is throwing strikes.Zim almost always has a hot Spring training and then turns cold. Not having ALR for protection probably didn't help either. He will have a big year. As to how many player get 100 rbi well if Werth drives in 100 from the 2 hole this team will win a lot of games, although Harper won't be happy coming up with the bases empty all the time :-).I still think that if this team stays healthy it will be hard to beat.

  27. The Fox - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Respective roles

  28. mick - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:06 PM

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  29. mick - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    I think the offense is solid. i still like Lombo's bat over Espi and I want Espi to prove me wrong and start hitting above 250 left handed.My concern is Soriano. I just do not think he is that good. I know Coach and others will disagree, but I think Davey may have some else as the closer by June. I hope he at least can be a mentor to Storen and Clip

  30. mick - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    Also and as I said before Werth may have an All star season

  31. mick - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Tcostant said…I'm not worried about Soriano, he will end the year with 2 or 3 blown saves, like most elite closers – he'll be fine.I hope I am wrong an you are rightI am worried about the defense, can't understand all the errors from this team.I agree, but i am more optimistic they will be fine before Soriano proves me wrong

  32. sjm308 - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Mick – I don't necessarily like Soriano. The fact is they spent 28 million on him and he is ours whether we like him or not. Since he is ours, I will chose to hope he settles back into what he has been the last few years which is a dominant ML closer. 7 games Mick, give him a chance to re-learn the National League after being away for a few years.

  33. mick - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    fair enough coach

  34. Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    Soriano is in his 12th MLB season. He's appeared in 457 games. You're going to form an opinion based on the last 2 weeks, and 7 games? Seriously?

  35. BigCat - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Storen coming around. He will eventually be back in the closer spot. Soriano is ok I guess. I think his best years are behind him though. I don't think that nibbling 90 mph is gonna cut it in the post season. I can't believe we only have Duke as a lefty in the pen. I think that is gonna really hamper usBeen saying this a long time and Zim always throws it back in my face. "Move closer to the plate!"

  36. A DC Wonk - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    From Baseball Prospectus this morning:"Cross the White Sox off the list among teams Adam LaRoche hasn't homered against. We're down to Oakland, Seattle and Kansas City — only the latter of which is on their schedule this year. Or just request a trade to Texas."

  37. bowdenball - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa said…"Soriano is in his 12th MLB season. He's appeared in 457 games. You're going to form an opinion based on the last 2 weeks, and 7 games? Seriously?"Thank you, well put. A reminder: after Game 1 folks around here were raving about him and saying they hoped Clippard and Storen could learn a few things from him. It's gonna take more than two bad showings- proceeded by two effective ones, lest we forget- to convince me that a guy with a career WHIP of 1.05 and 135 career saves might be a "problem."

  38. A DC Wonk - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    When does this group see either of them or Lombardozzi, actually getting a start? We have that stretch of 17 games in 17 days coming up soon, right?

  39. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    I watched Soriano alot when he was successful with the Rays and he inevitably have a stretch where he'd get roughed up. Actually, when with the Rays he reminded me of Chad because he always seemed to get you on the edge of your seat before he'd close the deal, usually with that nasty splitter.I'll wait a bit before placing him on the scrap heap.

  40. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    So Joe…..did the crowd really get into Werewolves of London before Jaysons home run?

  41. A DC Wonk - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    And an amen to bowdenball (9:51) and Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa. Soriano's a great pitcher and it's still only 7 games into the season. (What a great example of "what have you done for me lately, eh?)Let me also add:Yes, Soriano didn't have a great night last night, and he's getting paid to get Rios out.But, let's also not forget that Rios (and not Konerko) is the best White Sox hitter. His slash line last year (playing in 157 games) was: .304/.334/.516/.850 — he led the Sox in BA and SLG and had only 1 HR fewer than Konerko. (And, for that matter, had a higher BA and SLG than anyone on the Nats did last year, too).Folks, remember when Werth was called Werthless because of his slow start? And when everyone was saying to cut LaRoche? And that Desi would never learn how to hit?

  42. A DC Wonk - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Soriano is quickly descending into HROD inducing levels of Bourbon and Maalox.Nahhh . . . if he had walked Kornerko and let Dunn come to bat, and went 3-0 on Dunn — or at least hit the backstop at least once — that would have been HRod levels of Bourbon and Maalox!!

  43. Joe Seamhead - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    Yes, Jack! It's catching on. Sometimes it's hard to tune in to the walk up songs because of the timing, but he's doing it every third at bat and many are starting to figure it out. The "Ah- hooos" carried on after the PA had stopped.I would say that the majority of fans haven't tuned into it yet, but it does seem tobe catching on.

  44. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Thanks, Joe. I can't wait to get up there for the Cards and Reds series. It's gonna be great!

  45. Section 222 - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Back on April 4, I said it wouldn't surprise me, barring injury, for Davey to stick with his starting 8 (+Zuki) until after the off day on April 18. But with 17 games in 17 days starting on April 19, the goon squad will get some starts during that stretch. That still seems like a good read of what Davey is likely to do. The folks calling for Ty-Mo and Lombo can save their breath for a few days.

  46. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    Agree with Wonk. HRod's major damage comes from not throwing strikes and then getting hit. I don't think Soriano loses the ability to throw strikes even after giving up hits. Also out of the four runs Soriano has given up, 3 have come on HRs. We know that HR/9 is going to come down which basically means better days are ahead.

  47. MicheleS - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    new post

  48. adventurehouse - Apr 10, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Watched the game while I'm in Chicago for a business trip. Listening to the Sox team of broadcasters, and they talked more about how Span has and will hurt them if they can't keep him off the bases. When's the last time a Nat's team had someone like Span drawing attention away from the big boppers? Well…really…how about never!

  49. Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa - Apr 10, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    The LaRoche quote in question is "You look at this lineup, and the power from eight guys capable of putting up a lot of home runs in a year, it's huge for us. At any time we could be down three or four runs, and we're a swing away from being right back in it. And not just with a couple of guys."It sounds to me like he didn't mean one particular day's lineup, but if you count it as "either Ramos or Suzuki," then maybe he was thinking of the pinch-hitters, and thus Tyler, too.

  50. natsfan1a - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    But not Tippecanoe.

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