Adam LaRoche was asked if he enjoyed the nail-biting thrillers the Nationals have been a part of over the past week. He turned his head and gave a matter-of-fact reply.
“No,” he said. “Not at all.”
Winners of seven in a row heading into Tuesday night’s game against Arizona, the Nationals have found ways to win close contests. Five of those games were decided by one run. Washington won the final three games of this streak in walk-off fashion, with Adam LaRoche belting a home run in Monday’s 11th-inning 5-4 thriller over the Diamondbacks.
The Nationals are beginning to show some resiliency with the season beginning to wind down.
“We feel like we can win every game, even if we’re down late,” starter Jordan Zimmermann said. “These last couple of games have been a roller-coaster ride. We’re up, we’re down. We end up coming back and winning it. We have a good ball club, and we know we’re going to score runs.”
A bit of a 2012 feel has crept in with this year’s group as the Nationals chase their second division title in three years. In that season, Washington had an eight-game winning streak in August, though only three of those games were decided by one run. In 2012, Washington won 10 games with walk-offs. This year, the team has won seven that way.
“It builds a lot of character, I know that,” LaRoche said. “You get into late innings, extra innings and see a bunch of starting pitchers on the bench, and guys down there, pulling for each other. It really brings this group together. It helps to win those close games.”
The last few days may have put manager Matt Williams on edge a bit, but he’ll gladly take these narrow victories.
“Unconventional, by every stretch of the imagination,” Williams said. “It’s a fantastic trait that they never give up.”
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