NEW YORK -- His hitting streak is at 30 games, and people are starting to notice. His right elbow is sore enough that he had to miss a game, sore enough that people are asking about it.
Still, Andre Ethier looked as relaxed as could be Friday, even before the first-inning single that kept his streak alive for another day.
And maybe that's how he ended up hitting in 30 straight games in the first place. Maybe that's why he's hitting .379, after a 3-for-5 night Friday, in the Dodgers' 6-3 loss to the Mets.
The word on Ethier has always been that he doesn't relax, that he spends too much time in the batting cage, that he's too tough on himself and on others.
Now, with a hitting streak that's closing in on the Dodgers' 42-year-old franchise record (31, by Willie Davis in 1969) and with a three-deep pregame crowd of reporters around his locker, Ethier gave the impression that nothing could bother him.
"I haven't lost a wink of sleep because of [the streak]," he said, in a tone of voice that led you to believe him.
He said his elbow is better, good enough that he wants to play. He said the only bad thing about the streak was that he'd rather focus on wins and losses, especially after a 2-4 homestand. He said he's not superstitious.
"I change my socks," he said. "I've used four bats, three different models in some games. I eat something different every day."
He answered every question, never looking like it bothered him. He joked that the streak "will be a nice filler for the media guide next year."
I think he was joking when he said that.
"I don't think it will define my season, or our season," Ethier said.
That depends on how long this goes.
It goes on for another day, after Ethier lined a single to center field off Jonathon Niese of the Mets in his first at-bat Friday. It goes on, even as the Dodgers lost for the fifth time in the last six games, to fall to 15-18.
Ethier seems to understand that his streak is a story, but he also realizes that it's harder to celebrate personal accomplishments in a losing clubhouse.
"It's neat, but it's not helping us snap this little skid," he said after Friday's game. "You celebrate when you get the hit, but you play nine innings. It's just one at-bat."
At 30 games, the streak doesn't yet define the Dodger season. Even at 32 games, a new Dodger record, it still doesn't define the season.
But any time a streak gets this long, we all think of 56. We think of Joe DiMaggio.
And yes, if Ethier approaches DiMaggio, then the streak defines the season.
I know off the top of my head that DiMaggio's streak was in 1941. I had to go to the record book to see if the Yankees won the World Series that year (yes, they did).
At some point, the streak becomes the story, although I'm not sure I can tell you exactly what that point is.
Already, Ethier has people in Los Angeles talking about him. Already, his streak has given the Dodgers something of significance to discuss, besides the ownership circus.
"Someone asked me who Zack Wheat was," Ethier said. "I thought he was another minor leaguer. I thought maybe we were calling him up."
He knows now that it Wheat who had a 29-game hitting streak for the Dodgers in 1916, and that it was Wheat's record that Davis broke in 1969.
"Were they the Bridegrooms then?" Ethier asked.
Actually, they were the Bridegrooms a few years before that. They were the Robins when Wheat had his streak.
"I guess I'll be one of those Vin Scully trivia questions," Ethier said.
At 30 games, yes, he'll be a trivia question. If the streak goes on much longer, he'll be more than that.