Ethier Hits in 20th Game; Dodgers lose

After a two-run double in the sixth inning against the Cubs, Andre Ethier's hitting streak is now at 20 games, which means it's no longer just a note. It ties him for the longest active streak in the majors, the longest of his career and puts him in a tie for the longest April streak in team history, along with Steve Garvey's 20 from April 7-20, 1978.

A few days ago, Ethier said he was aware of the streak, but he wasn't fixated on it. He added that he always wants to get hits and it's his job to get hits, so the streak doesn't change that he wants to get a hit every at-bat.

What the streak has shown is an ability to maintain consistency. For a player known for beating up bat racks and breaking helmets after making outs, which sometimes has led to longer droughts, this is definite progress.

He's needed to get hits against tough lefties to keep the streak alive, and he's done that, too. The prime example was the ninth inning Sunday, when he doubled off reliever Trever Miller, which kept the streak alive and set the stage for Matt Kemp's walk-off home run.

What the streak has also done is deflect attention away from the reduction in Ethier's power. It's only 21 games, but Ethier has two homers and seven doubles. Projections this early are silly. For whatever they're worth, it projects to 15 home runs and a massive 54 doubles. The slugging percentage is still a robust .551, far above his career .492 entering Friday's game.

Even at 19 games, Ethier's hitting streak is just shy of one-third of the way to Joe DiMaggio's famed 56-game hitting streak. TOP OF THE CHARTS – Dodger right fielder Andre Ethier went 2-for-5 and extended his Major League season high-hitting streak to 18 games, which is also a new career high. The last Dodger hit safely in 19-straight games was Matt Kemp, who had a 19-game hitting streak from July 9-Aug. 1, 2008. The last Dodger to reach 20 games was Nomar Garciaparra, who had a 22-game run in 2006.   Ethier has boosted his average from .125 to .385. His streak tied him with Steve Garvey for the longest Dodger hitting streaks in the month of April since the team moved to Los Angeles:  

Dodgers, Longest Hit Streaks in April – since 1958 (streak cannot span seasons)  

year		player		gm	streak
1978    Steve Garvey		20	4/7-30, 1978
2011    Andre Ethier 		20	4/2, 2011 - Active
1977    Ron Cey      		17 	4/7-27, 1977
1996    Mike Piazza    	        14 	4/16-30, 1996
2004    Cesar Izturis		14 	4/10-27, 2004
2008    James Loney  		14 	4/1-16, 2008
2009    Matt Kemp      	        14 	4/6-21, 2009

The Dodgers who have
Hit in 20+ Consecutive games

 Los Angeles Records		  All-Time Records
gm   name, year	                 gm	name, year	                  
31 - Willie Davis, 1969	        29 - Zach Wheat, 1916	
25 - Willie Davis, 1971	        27 - Joe Medwick, 1942		
25 - Steve Steve, 1986		27 - Duke Snider, 1953		
25 - Paul Lo Duca, 2003	        26 - Willie Keeler, 1902	
24 - John Shelby, 1988		26 - Zach Wheat, Zack	1918	 
23 - Brett Butler, 1991 	25 - Harvey Hendrick, 1929 	
22 - Nomar Garciaparra, 2006	25 - Buzz Boyle, 1934		
21 - Steve Garvey, 1978	        24 - Zach Wheat, 1924
20 - Tom Davis, 1960		24 - John Shelby, 1988	
20 - Tom Davis, 1964		23 - Hi Myers, 1915	  
20 - Maury Wills, 1965		23 - Duke Snider, 1950	  	
20 - Steve Garvey, 1978
			        22 - Jim Johnston, 1921	
			        22 - PeeWee Reese, 1951    
			        22 - Nomar Garciaparra, 2006 
			        21 - Frank O'Doul, 1932 	
			        *21 - Jack Robinson, 1947 	
			        21 - Steve Garvey, 1978 	
			        20 - Zach Wheat, 1923		
			        20 - John Frederick, 1933	
			           *=Rookie Record
--CF Matt Kemp became just the second player in baseball history to end consecutive series with a walk-off home run. Robin Young belted walk-offs on April 18, 1991 against the Orioles and April 21 against the Brewers. Kemp did it Sunday to end the Cardinals series and Thursday to end the Braves series. Besides the home runs, Kemp is striking out a lot. He's struck out eight of his last 14 at-bats, twice Friday, although he also walked twice and doubled.

--RHP Chad Billingsley didn't allow his first hit until there was one out in the fourth inning, a clean single by Cubs 3B Aramis Ramirez. Billingsley allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings. He earned his second win of the year.

--C Dioner Navarro is 2-for-10 with two walks through three rehab games for Class AA Chattanooga, and he's very close to getting activated. The Dodgers would be down to four players on the disabled list when Navarro returns.

--RHP MATT GUERRIER was brought in to protect an 8-5 lead in the eighth on Saturday but gave up five runs and absorbed his first loss of the season. Starter Ted Lilly was pounded by Chicago in the 10-8 loss on Saturday.

--On Friday, RHP Kenley Jansen, a converted catcher, would have batted in the 12th inning if CF Matt Kemp hadn't won the game with the walk-off homer. Manager Don Mattingly said at least Jansen has experience hitting, and said with a smile that Jansen was "hot" -- because he singled and walks in two plate appearances last season. Jansen has struggled this year, but retired all five batters he faced -- four on strikeouts.

--RHP Vicente Padilla was activated from the disabled list prior to Friday's game. Manager Don Mattingly said he would prefer to avoid using Padilla in back-to-back days, and for more than one inning, at least initially.

BY THE NUMBERS: 340 -- Pitches thrown by LHO Clayton Kershaw in the last 11 days. He's set a career high twice in his last three starts, including 122 in Thursday's game when Kershaw was trying to complete a 2-1 victory. Instead, he allowed a two-out, two-strike single to make it 3-2. The Dodgers won 5-3 in 12 innings.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He has to figure out how long it takes him to get ready. Whether it's (the usual) 15 pitches or extra time, it's a little bit trial and error for him. He'll know he's got the fifth or sixth inning, then he has time to get ready. But if you have to get up to get this hitter, he has to figure out what it takes to be ready for that." -- Manager Don Mattingly, on the adjustment for RHP Vicente Padilla going from starting pitcher to reliever.