Saturday, May 07, 2011

Ethier Goes For The All-Time Dodgers Hitting Streak Record Today

I've got another theme going for the Game Thread this afternoon, so let me take a moment here to celebrate Andre Ethier, who not only came out in his first at bat and stroked a single yesterday (on a 3-0 count, no less), but also went on to get two more hits and finish 3-for-5 (batting average at .379).

Today, Ethier looks to tie the Dodgers' hitting streak mark of 31, held by Willie Davis. Wow.

Jim Peltz of the LA Times had a nice feature on Ethier's streak, and the story was accompanied by an excellent graphic that shows how Ethier has spread the ball around in his last 29 games. Game #30 showed he continues to disperse his shots: two singles to center, one single to right.

Peltz also credited Ethier's maturity and preparation:

Known earlier in his career for a temper that resulted in more than a few smashed helmets, Ethier has shown a relative calm about the streak that his coaches say has probably helped him extend it.

And behind the poise is the confidence of an accomplished hitter with fierce work ethic and a vast knowledge of opposing pitchers.

"He probably spends more time in the cage than anybody I have," said Jeff Pentland, the Dodgers' hitting coach. [...]

"He spends up to 20 minutes" in the batting cage even before taking batting practice on the field, while "most guys are in there 10 minutes or less," Pentland said. "Then after BP he'll go back in there again, and then he'll do it right before the game. He does it every day."

Best of luck today, Andre!

photo: Jeff Cross / Getty Images; graphic credit to Mark Hafer and Brady MacDonald of the LA Times