On Deck: Three streakers on the way
Posted on: May 6, 2011 4:32 pm
Edited on: May 6, 2011 4:38 pm
By Matt Snyder
Let's find a common theme for tonight's on-deck circle. Since we can't ignore Mr. Ethier and the hitting streak that has held the sports world hostage for the past week or so, let's go with the longest winning and losing streaks after Ethier.
Yes, Ethier is in the lineup Friday night for the Dodgers and hitting in his customary No. 3 slot. He told reporters (via Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com) that his elbow feels good enough to play through the pain, and that he's not feeling the pressure of the streak.
"I want to get a hit every at-bat no matter what, anyway," Ethier said, meaning that the streak doesn't alter his approach toward each individual at-bat.
ETHIER STREAKING: He takes his 29-game hitting streak into Queens, as the Dodgers square off against the Mets this weekend. Jonathon Niese (1-4, 4.71) is the starting pitcher for the Mets. Ethier's never seen Niese, which tends to slightly favor the pitcher, if anything. That isn't a hard-and-fast rule, but there is some bad news, statistically, for Ethier. Niese is left-handed. Ethier's been far worse in his career against lefties than righties and this season it's been more of a disparity. He's hitting .229 against southpaws and .429 against right-handers. His career marks are .246 (left) and .312 (right). For whatever it's worth, he's also been awful in New York (.161 at Shea Stadium and ..217 at Citi Field). Basically, the stats say there's a decent chance the hit streak ends Friday evening -- but those lie on plenty of occasions. It's entirely plausible he keeps things going.
Braves STREAKING: The Braves have won five in a row, though they've barely made up any ground because the Phillies have won six of seven. Naturally, head-to-head games are the perfect remedy, and the Braves will get their chance this weekend, traveling to Philadelphia for a series. Game 1 pits Derek Lowe (2-3, 3.72) against Cliff Lee (2-2, 3.66). A three-game sweep could get the Braves within 1 1/2 games (of course, the Marlins would probably have first by then), but if the Braves lose the series, they'll fall back a pretty sizable amount. Fortunately it's only the first week of May. Lots of season to go. Still, there's no reason to dig a big hole and I'm guessing the Braves view this as a pretty big opportunity.
Brewers STREAKING: Here's a negative streak. The Brewers -- who still have hopes of winning the NL Central in Prince Fielder's walk year -- have lost six straight games and continue to see players dropping like flies. The good news is the Brewers are still only 4 1/2 games out in the Central and get to face the division-leading Cardinals this weekend. The festivities get underway Friday night in St. Louis, where Randy Wolf (3-2, 2.39) hopes to put a stop to the Brewers six-game losing streak. The offense better be ready to step up as well, because Jaime Garcia (3-0, 2.48) toes the slab for the NL's top offense -- and that's with Albert Pujols having a relative off-year.
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