As you could see from my picks from yesterday, a vital characteristic when choosing players to extend my hitting streak are guys batting in the 1, 2, or 3 hole. Obviously, hitters at the top of the order get more at-bats than hitters at the bottom. Also, most leadoff and 2-hole hitters make contact at a very high rate, so more balls hit in play equals more balls that can find a hole. Most players that bat 3rd are considered to be the best hitter on the team. Anyways, tomorrow's favorites...
July 9th, Beat the Streak
Carlos Guillen (3B Tigers) - Guillen has enjoyed life against Paul Byrd, hitting .520(13-25) off the Cleveland hurler for his career. Guillen flirts with .300 every year, above and below, and with the Tigers offense at home, he should get plenty of chances at the dish. Lefties have hit .332 off Byrd this year.
Chipper Jones (3B Braves) - Larry, as I like to call him, leads the major leagues in BA(.384) and OBP(.481). He already has 108 hits, despite starting in only 71 out of 90 games due to his usual laundry list of injuries. Provided he lasts the enitire game without ripping a quad muscle or breaking his wrist, he should get a hit off of Derek Lowe. Chipper is 8-15(.533) off Lowe in his career, and lefties hit 20 points higher than righties do against Lowe. Although Chipper does take some walks, his walk rate isn't as high as it has been earlier in his career, and his track record against Lowe suggests he's worth the risk. Fun little fact about Chipper: his son's name is Shea...Mets fans can tell you why.
Ichiro (OF Mariners) - Honestly, you can never really be wrong picking Ichiro to get a hit. How can you be wrong choosing a guy that has failed to record LESS than 200 hits in a season in his 7+ years in the big leagues. Ichiro is hitting .409 in his last 10 games, and is 16-47(.340) in his career against Blanton, the A's gunslinger he'll be facing most of the night. Also, the Mariners are on the road, meaning they will hit in the 9th inning, whether winning or losing.
July 9th Survivor
Brewers - Ben Sheets is 10-2 with a 2.77 ERA and faces Greg Reynolds, 2-6 with a 6.71 ERA. This pitching matchup screams mismatch. Sheets is 6-1 in his last 9 starts, with an ERA of 2.38. On the other end of the spectrum, Reynolds has an ERA north of 7.00 over the same span. Sheets allowed only 1 run over 6 innings against Colorado in Denver earlier this season.
Cubs - The Windy City is buzzing after the Cubs traded for Rich Harden, previously 5-1, 2.34 ERA with the A's. Nobody in baseball has better stuff than Harden, and if he can stay healthy, the Cubs will play in the World Series. Though no one has better stuff, Zambrano's repertoire might be as good. He will face the Reds and rookie Johnny Cueto, possibly a star in the making. But, with Big Z and the Cubs at home, along with the morale boost of adding another ace to the staff, they should prevail.
July 8th Selections
Polanco - 1 for 5 (my pick)
Hardy - 1 for 4
Kinsler - 1 for 4
Detroit - won 9-2
Milwaukee - won 7-3 (my pick)
5 out of 5...I should quit while I'm ahead