The Nationals are making a habit out of this whole walk-off thing.
Adam LaRoche connected for a solo home run in the bottom of the 11th inning this evening to give the Nationals a dramatic 5-4 win over the Diamondbacks at Nationals Park. The Nationals have now won seven consecutive games, including three in a row in walk-off fashion. You don’t see that very often.
Watch video of the game-winning homer below:
Tonight’s game was an entertaining back-and-forth affair. Arizona grabbed an early lead before Wilson Ramos put the Nationals in front in the bottom of the seventh inning with a two-run homer. The Diamondbacks quickly took the lead back with a two-run shot from Didi Gregorius in the top of the eighth, but the Nationals stormed back in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI triple from Anthony Rendon and a sacrifice fly from Jayson Werth. Tyler Clippard, filling in for Rafael Soriano, then blew the save in the top of the ninth before the Nationals won the game in extras.
Believe it or not, this was LaRoche’s first career walk-off homer. After a bit of a power outage, he has gone deep six times in his last 12 games and is now up to 19 homers on the year.
The Nationals now sit at 70-53 on the season, six games up on the Braves in the National League East. They own the best record in the National League.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.