LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — Adam LaRoche joined the Holden and Danny Show on 106.7 The Fan on Friday, the day after his Washington Nationals clinched the first playoff berth since the team moved to DC from Montreal.
The first baseman feels a big sense of relief having punched a postseason ticket.
“A one-game playoff is the absolute worst-case scenario,” LaRoche said. “That is in our path on the way to step two. We’d love to avoid that and win the division.”
More importantly for LaRoche, he informed the Nationals he wants to remain in D.C. long-term.
“I have made that clear, here in the recent days, that I would love to work something out and stick around,” LaRoche said. “I love D.C. My kids, my wife, we enjoy it here. More importantly I love the organization and the direction they are going in.”
The direction certainly is trending upward as they continue to improve after posting the worst record in baseball in back-to-back years. They have become the first team ever to have three straight seasons with ten-game improvements in the win column.
LaRoche predicted the Nationals would make the playoffs during an appearance with Holden and Danny earlier in the season. At the time, his early season prediction was laughed off.
Much like Holden wanting Prince Fielder to be playing first base, the guys were wrong to think that.
“You never know for sure until you get into the season… look at the Marlins and Phillies,” he said. “Sometimes over the course of a year, a team doesn’t click.”
The conversation switched from the playoff berth, to the topic of Bryce Harper drinking sparkling grape juice with LaRoche’s son, Drake, while the rest of the team was drinking champagne.
“He’s the closest in age to Bryce we’ve got!” LaRoche joked.
Rather than his celebratory drink of choice, LaRoche mentioned the team has to constantly remind themselves that Harper is only 19.
“He finds a way to produce runs, his speed and fearlessness helps a lot,” he said. “He’s single-handedly won us some games.”
The Nationals still have work to do in order to clinch the division. The Magic Number now sits at 8.
LaRoche was asked about the team’s confidence heading in to the final stretch of games.
“We’re playing at about a ‘7’ right now, but I would have said a ‘9’ if we hadn’t come out flat in that Atlanta series,” he said.