Posted on: May 7, 2011 10:58 pm
This was the day Andre Ethier was sure to keep the streak going.
"I'll just pencil him in for a hit," Chris Young had said, knowing all too well the success Ethier has had against him.
But Young didn't start for the Mets Saturday, scratched just before gametime because he had trouble getting loose.
And Ethier didn't get a hit.
His hitting streak is over at 30 games, like so many streaks before his. The last four hitting streaks to last 30 games -- Willy Tavarez in 2006, Moises Alou in 2007, Ryan Zimmerman in 2009 and now Ethier -- all ended without getting to 31.
In fact, for whatever reason, 30 has been by far the preferred ending spot for longish hitting streaks.
Of the 20 streaks that lasted 29 games or more, 11 ended at exactly 30 games, as opposed to just one streak ending at 29 games, two at 31 and one at 32.
Who knows why that is?
At least we can blame Young's inability to get loose for the end of Ethier's streak. The two met regularly in the National League West when Young pitched for the Padres, and Ethier went 12-for-29 (.414) against him, with six home runs and two doubles.
Maybe this time Young would have stopped him. We'll never know.
We do know that fill-in starter Dillon Gee stopped him, with help from relievers Michael O'Connor and Tim Byrdak. Ethier walked, flied to left and flied to center against Gee, grounded out against O'Connor and struck out against Byrdak.
And so this streak is over, one game shy of equaling Willie Davis for the longest streak in Dodger franchise history, 14 games shy of Pete Rose's National League record, and 26 games short of Joe DiMaggio's record.
Ethier did go six games farther than his manager ever had. Don Mattingly's longest hitting streak ended at 24 games in 1986.
Mattingly also had streaks of 20 games, 19 games and 17 games (twice).
"I told everyone that every time I'd get to 20, Joe DiMaggio would come in and say something and I'd go 0-for-4," Mattingly joked Friday. "So Ethier's all right."
DiMaggio didn't come by, but Chris Young couldn't get loose.
And Ethier's streak is over.
Posted on: May 5, 2011 7:43 pm
You might think this is the worst time to face Andre Ethier.
R.A. Dickey thinks it's the best time.
"The percentages are in your favor the more games his streak goes on," the Mets knuckleballer said. "I'd rather he had a 50-game streak. You think, this is going to end sometime."
It's hard to know whether it will end this weekend, and not just because an inflamed elbow kept Ethier out of the Dodgers' Wednesday game against the Cubs, and has his status in some doubt for this weekend's series against the Mets.
What we do know is that Ethier has a .147 career average against the Mets, easily his lowest against any National League opponent.
We also know that Ethier's hitting streak is at 29 games, which gives the next couple of games extra significance. The longest hitting streak in Dodger history is 31, by Willie Davis in 1969.
Davis' 30th and 31st games came against . . . the Mets. His streak ended in the next series, in San Diego against the Padres.
If Ethier gets a hit Friday, he could tie Davis with another hit on Saturday night. While Ethier has bad career numbers against the Mets, he has great numbers (12-for-29, with six home runs) against Chris Young, the Mets' Saturday night starter.
"I'll just pencil him in for a hit," Young said with a smile.
Young said he met Ethier last year in the Dodger Stadium weight room, when Young was with the Padres.
"He came up and asked how I was doing," said Young, who was coming back from an injury. "He's first and foremost a nice guy, a great player, who has a ton of success off me.
"I had to apologize to him, because by getting hurt I cost him some hits."
If Ethier can carry his streak until Sunday, he'll face Dickey.
By then, the percentages may be in his favor.
On to 3 to watch:
1. The Giants and Rockies have played some fascinating games the last couple of years. And any matchup of Matt Cain and Ubaldo Jimenez is interesting, even if Cain gave up six runs the last time he faced Colorado and Jimenez has a 7.20 ERA. It'll be Cain and Jimenez, in Rockies at Giants, Friday night (10:15 ET) at AT&T Park.
2. Young can joke about his lack of success against Ethier, but his first four starts for the Mets have been no joke. He's just 1-0 (losing two potential wins to blown saves), but he has a 1.88 ERA and has allowed just 12 hits in 24 innings (with a .146 opponents batting average). Young faces Jon Garland in Dodgers at Mets, Saturday night (7:10 ET) at Citi Field.
3. Rangers fans probably don't need many reminders that their team went to the World Series last year, for the first time in its history. But having the Yankees in town for the first time since the American League Championship Series can't hurt. This hasn't been the best of times for either team, as both the Rangers and Yankees had their first three-game losing streak of the season. It's still a big-time series, and maybe the most interesting pitching matchup of the series will be CC Sabathia against Alexi Ogando, in Yankees at Rangers, Sunday afternoon (2:05 ET) at Rangers Ballpark.
Posted on: September 17, 2010 11:05 am
Edited on: September 17, 2010 11:06 am
Chris Young returns to the Padres rotation Saturday. Andy Pettitte returns to the Yankees rotation Sunday.
The Padres fell out of first place Thursday. The Yankees fell out of first place Wednesday.
Yes, there's a difference. Of course there is.
The Yankees, according to the computers at coolstandings.com, are a 97.3 percent lock to make the playoffs. The Padres, the computers say, are basically 50-50.
But the computer here at 3 to watch says Pettitte's return could have just as big an impact on this coming postseason -- probably more -- than Young's.
Young might help the Padres get into the playoffs. Pettitte could well be the difference in whether the Yankees win once they're there.
The Padres rotation, 7-14 with a 5.33 ERA over the club's last 25 games, could use a boost. But unless Young drives in some runs (he's a .139 career hitter, with 10 RBI in 190 at-bats), it may not be enough to matter.
The Yankees are in a bit of a slump at the plate, too, scoring just 34 runs in their last 10 games (eight of them losses). But the real issue that threatens their run at a second straight title is a rotation that features one great pitcher -- CC Sabathia -- and a ton of question marks.
Since Pettitte's last start, on July 18 against the Rays, the Yankee starters other than Sabathia have combined to go 22-20 with a 5.68 ERA.
Pettitte was having one of his best seasons when he went down with a groin injury. Besides that, he's the winningest postseason pitcher ever, with an 18-9 record and 3.90 ERA in 40 career starts. He won four of his five starts last postseason, and left the other one when it was tied 3-3 in the seventh inning.
There's no doubt the Yankees need him to be healthy, and need him to be strong. There's at least some doubt about how ready he is, which manager Joe Girardi acknowledged when he said that recently demoted Javier Vazquez would be ready to start Sunday if Pettitte can't.
On to 3 to watch:
1. Yes, the Braves still have six games remaining with the Phillies, who they now trail by three games in the National League East. That's good, if you think the Braves can catch the Phillies. It's bad, if you think they can't, because it means their schedule is tougher than those of the other wild-card contenders. And that makes it doubly important for the Braves to beat up on teams like the Mets, particularly with Tim Hudson on the mound against Dillon Gee, in Braves at Mets, Saturday afternoon (4:10 ET) at Citi Field .
2. Young hasn't started a big-league game since the second game of the season, and he spent the rest of the year dealing with a right shoulder that took forever to recover from the surgery he underwent in August 2009. He has worked two simulated games and three minor-league rehabilitation games over the last month, and now the Padres believe he's ready. They hope he's ready, because he'll be starting in Padres at Cardinals, Saturday afternoon (4:10 ET) at Busch Stadium , for a team that is out of playoff position for the first time since the middle of April.
3. Getting Pettitte back is crucial to the Yankees, whether they win the division or finish second and take the wild card. But the Yankees keep saying that winning the division matters, and in that case Pettitte's start in Yankees at Orioles, Sunday afternoon (1:35 ET) at Camden Yards takes on even more significance. The Yankees' four remaining head-to-head games with the Rays will be played next week at Yankee Stadium, but the rest of the teams' remaining schedules favor Tampa Bay. Besides that, the Yankees don't want to give the Red Sox (six games behind) any hope that they can make their six remaining head-to-head games with the Yankees more significant.
Posted on: June 15, 2008 5:50 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2008 11:02 pm
Last Tuesday, the Tigers were 11 games out, and already thinking they might have to be July sellers. Six days later, they're six games out, and looking dangerous.
"Everybody was burying us, and they should have," manager Jim Leyland said after today's 5-4 win over the Dodgers.
They're not buried, and neither are the Padres, who despite losing two of three over the weekend in Cleveland, have had a similar revival in the NL West. Once 12 1/2 games out, the Padres have already cut it to 6 1/2.
The Tigers added Fernando Rodney to the rotation Sunday, should add Joel Zumaya on Thursday and could add Gary Sheffield next week. The Padres just got Jake Peavy back from the disabled list and brought top prospect Chase Headley to the majors. They should eventually get Chris Young back from the disabled list, too.
Just another reminder of how long the season is, and how quickly things can change. For another reminder, check out something Joel Sherman pointed out in his New York Post column today: A year ago today, the National League division leaders were the Mets, Brewers and Dodgers, and the Padres led the wild-card race. Not one of those four teams made the playoffs.