I said last night that even though Andre Ethier added yet another walk-off hit to his amazing career, the game was about John Ely. However, now that a new day beckons, it's okay to gush about the Dodger right fielder.
May 7 is much too early to talk triple crown, but the way Ethier is hitting allows us to dream. His 10 home runs (same number as Kelly Johnson) and 30 runs batted in both lead the National League. To the untrained eye, it may look like Ethier leads the league in batting average as well, at .371. However, as the astute Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts has reminded us, that is not the case. Ivan Rodriguez of the Nationals is hitting .403 (31 hits in 77 at-bats), but he is three plate appearances short of qualifying for the batting title (which, again, is way too early to be thinking about, since there are 149 days left in the season). Per baseball rules, Rodriguez is given a theoretical out for each plate appearance he is short, to determine if he would still lead the league; in this case, 31 hits in 80 at-bats gives him a .388 batting average, and a comfortable lead over Ethier.
Still, any time a Dodger is atop the leaderboard in home runs or RBI, it's news. Since moving to Los Angeles, the Dodgers have had just two league leaders in these categories:
- 1962: Tommy Davis had a franchise record 153 RBI to lead the NL
- 2004: Adrian Beltre had the greatest season of his life in a contract year, and led the NL with 48 home runs
For now anyway, Ethier is in lofty company.
Ethier has been ridiculous at home for quite a while. He has a .926 slugging percentage at Dodger Stadium this season, and has averaged an RBI per game for his last 105 home starts, dating back to August 16, 2008:
|Andre Ethier's Last 105 Home Starts|