Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Mets [Print without images]

Friday, May 6, 2011
Ethier on streak: 'This wasn't a goal'

By Mike Mazzeo

And so it continues.

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to 30 games with a first-inning single off New York Mets left-hander Jonathon Niese on Friday night. Ethier, who later singled in the fifth, is just one game away from tying Willie Davis for the longest hitting streak in Dodgers history. Davis had a 31-game hitting streak from Aug. 1 to Sept. 3, 1969.

Ethier came into Friday night's game batting .387 during his streak, which began on April 2. He surpassed Zach Wheat, who had hit safely in 29 straight games for the then-Brooklyn Robins (Aug. 20 to Sept. 16, 1916), and moved into sole possession of second place.

"Someone asked me who Zach Wheat was," Ethier said before the game. "I thought he was another minor leaguer we had. I thought he was being called up."

On Friday afternoon, almost two dozen reporters converged at Ethier's locker to ask him about the streak's significance.

Andre Ethier


Right Field
Los Angeles Dodgers

Profile


2011 Season Stats
GM HR RBI R OBP AVG
32 3 17 15 .441 .377
"This wasn't a goal," Ethier said. "I'm just going to enjoy it and have fun. I don't go up to the plate trying to extend the streak. I just try to do my job at the plate.

"I didn't even know I had the streak until I got to 14 or 15 games and someone said something to me. Then I started to backtrack and thought to myself, 'Did I even get a hit in that game?'"

The answer, of course, is yes. And that's why -- despite needing to get a hit in his final at-bat four times (April 4, 13, 17 and 18) -- Ethier stands just 26 games away from tying New York Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio for the all-time single-season record (56).

"The point and the notoriety is because of what the record is. That's a long way away," Ethier said. "I'm not going to put any extra pressure on something barely halfway."

So is Ethier -- the first major leaguer to have a 30-game hitting streak since Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman hit safely in 30 straight games from April 8 to May 12, 2009 -- superstitious?

"No," Ethier said. "I change my socks. I use four bats and three different models in a game. I eat something every day.

"I haven't lost a wink of sleep because of it, and I don't think about it when my head hits the pillow."

Ethier couldn't recall his longest hitting streak in college, saying "it was 20-something games."

Records show that Ethier ended his three-year career at Arizona State in 2003 with a 23-game hitting streak.

The 29-year-old has now bested that mark by seven. The question is, can he continue to prolong it?

"It's tough," Ethier said. "I've gotten through one month, but I can't imagine two months. It's tough to go out there and rack up one hit in a game, even two and do it for several games in a row. There are a lot of intangibles that play into that.

"You just shrug your shoulders and don't try to overanalyze it. You just go out there and enjoy it."

But doesn't it get old talking about it to reporters in each and every city the Dodgers travel to?

"When it comes on the hands of a 2-4 homestand," Ethier said.

Still, despite the Dodgers' struggles -- they entered Friday night's game just 13-16 during the first 29 games of his hitting streak -- Ethier is trying to enjoy himself.

"It'll be good for [Dodgers broadcaster] Vin Scully's trivia," Ethier said.

If he keeps it going longer than that, however, Ethier is going to find himself in the record books. Forever.