April 26, 2011

Andre Ethier...Mr. April?

With a first inning double Tuesday night...Andre Ethier set a Major League record by hitting in 23 straight April games.

The Los Angeles Dodgers rightfielder broke the 40-year-old record set by his former manager, Joe Torre, who hit in 22 straight April games in 1971.  And while he's a long way away from surpassing Joe DiMaggio's record 56 game hit streak...he's not that far from catching up to Dodgers hit king Willie Davis.

Wait...Willie Davis?!?

Sure, Willie Davis might not be the first name you think of when someone mentions "hit king"...but dude does have two of the longest hit streaks (31 in 1969 and 25 in 1971) in team history.

But what kind of road bumps stand in the way of the 2010 All-Star from eclipsing Davis?  Let's break it down...and figure out exactly where Ethier ranks in Dodgers history since the team packed up and went west in 1958.

If Ethier's streak ends Wednesday against the Florida Marlins...he'll be tied with Brett Butler's 1991 hitting streak. But should the rightfielder get a hit off of pitcher Anibal Sanchez (he's 0-for-6 all-time against the righty) he match John Shelby and his 1988 feat of hitting in 24 straight.

Now, should Ethier get his first hit off Sanchez, he'll get a day off before he squares off against San Diego starter Clayton Richard Friday night.

And as luck would have it...Richard will be the toughest foe the Dodger will face on his march to match Davis. Head-to-head...Ethier is 1-for-13 against the Padres hurler.

But, should Ethier get the best of the Padres Friday night, he'll be the fourth Dodger to get a hit in 25 straight games.

The others?  Davis, second baseman Steve Sax in 1986 and catcher Paul Lo Duca in 2003.

The road from 25 to 31 might be the easiest stretch of the season thus far for the slugger. Against the six probable starters he'll face...he is hitting a combined 22-for-53 (good for a .415 batting average).

Let's put the cart before the horse for a minute and look ahead to Saturday, May 7...Ethier and his Dodgers take on the New York Mets and (more than likely) Chris Young.

Thankfully, this cat OWNS the 6'10" righty.  In 29 at bats...Ethier has 12 hits against Young (a .414 batting average) and six home runs.

So, just how far can "Mr. April" go? If you can grant me the cliche for a moment...only time will tell.


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