It's impossible to predict baseball. We witness players or teams accomplish remarkable feats. Players go through stretches where it is nearly impossible to get them out. Teams do the same when they begin a winning streak.
First, it is a series sweep; then, the next thing you know, the team has won 10 consecutive wins. Or, in the case of the 2002 Oakland Athletics, 20 consecutive wins.
But never has a player gone through a hot period that the Texas Rangers' Josh Hamilton is putting together.
Hamilton was ripping the cover off the ball from the moment the series in Baltimore began on Monday, May 7. Through these past seven games, Hamilton has posted a batting average of .467, (14-for-30), nine home runs, two doubles and 18 RBI.
The main attraction came on Tuesday night, May 8, when Hamilton became the 16th player all-time to belt four home runs in one game. The last person to complete this feat was Carlos Delgado in 2003 against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
In that game alone, Hamilton went 5-for-5 with eight RBI.
Yes, this has happened before, but how many times has the player continued to hit the way Hamilton has after this performance? Hamilton hit four more home runs over the final game of the Baltimore series and the first two games of the series against the Los Angeles Angels.
This is not to say that Hamilton was not performing up to this point. Before the week started, Hamilton was the clear-cut front-runner for AL MVP. On the season, Hamilton is hitting .402 with 18 home runs and 44 RBI. Hamilton has a commanding lead in all three categories.
As a baseball fan, I understand the superstitions that players go through when they have a hot streak. Hamilton was no different during his streak. Throughout the whole week, Hamilton used the same bat every time he walked up to the plate.
Unfortunately, though, he will not have the privilege to continue using that bat. In Hamilton’s final at-bat on Sunday, the bat broke on an RBI single. Eight of the nine home runs hit during the week were off of that bat.
Still, this is not the last we will hear of the bat. After the game last night, the process of sending the bat to the Hall of Fame began.
For some reason, I think that the streak had more to do with the ability of Hamilton than with his bat. Hamilton is on track for one of the more impressive statistical years in major league history. At this pace, we will have a new single-season home run champion by season's end.
Time will tell if Hamilton will be able to keep this pace up. Now that he has achieved four home runs in a game, what’s next? Could he be the first to hit five home runs in a game? Will he earn the Triple Crown? I know one thing for sure: I wouldn’t bet against it.