August 02, 2006


Chase-ing History

Chase Utley currently has a 33-game hitting streak. And when someone passes 30, it's time for the national media to start paying attention. I'm glad to see Utley get his due - he's one of the most underrated players in baseball. I should have mentioned him in my top ten MLB players - I don't think he's quite top-ten material, but he'd probably go somewhere in the 11-20 range, especially given the current lack of depth at the position. Right now he's the best second baseman in baseball, and it's really not even close - with Soriano in the outfield, the next-best second baseman in the game is...Brian Roberts? Dan Uggla? I don't really know. Utley's hitting .328 so far this year, along with .566 slugging percentage. He will try to extend his streak to 34 tonight against Jeff Weaver of the Cardinals tonight.

(By the way, some useless but interesting trivia - Hal Chase also had a 33 game hit streak for the New York Highlanders 99 years ago...I wonder if there are any other two players with the same name (one first, one last) who both have 30+ game hit streaks. Somebody needs to get Jayson Stark on this...)

Don't get your hopes up that Utley will be threatening DiMaggio anytime soon - if you feel like doing the math (which for some reason I did) using his .328 batting average, there is a roughly 1 in 190 chance that Utley's streak reaches 56 games (and that's using 4 AB's per game, a fairly generous assumption given walks/etc). But the thing I find interesting about this streak is that it seems he is getting all his hits early in the game (3rd-5th inning). In contrast, teammate Jimmy Rollins kept the suspense going a lot longer at the beginning of the year - I remember him getting all his hits in the eighth or ninth inning. Not really important, but I found it interesting anyways.

Twins sensation Fransisco Liriano will miss tonight's start due to injury - the Twins say it's just a precautionary measure, but it's worth following. Liriano has been outstanding all season, and if this is anything serious, the Twins will be in serious trouble. Boof Bonser, another good young pitching prospect, will get the start instead.

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