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A Quirky Hitting Streak (*)

Entering tonight's game, Ryan Zimmerman has the third-longest hitting streak in Nationals history (2005-present). He also has, undoubtedly, the strangest one. Zimmerman's streak, now at 15 games, is hanging from the thinnest of statistical threads: Every game, he does just enough to keep it going. Not once during the streak has he gotten more than two hits. In 10 of those 15 games, he has just one.

This is not to suggest the Nationals are complaining; quite the contrary, especially because Zimmerman is a historically slow starter. ("I don't feel on fire or anything like that," Zimmerman said today. "But I've just been consistent with my approach. And it's nice to feel like I don't have to dig myself out of a hole for a change, because the last few years that was always what happened when I started slow.")

Here's just a quick examination of the statistical quirks.

* During these 15 games, Zimmerman is 20-for-65 (.308) with five doubles, two home runs and 10 RBI.

* Eight other MLB players entered action today with hitting streaks of 10 games or more. Everybody else's batting average was at least .351. Five of those other eight had batting averages above .400. Zimmerman had the lowest OBP and second-lowest slugging percentage.

* The only other time Zimmerman had a longer hitting streak was in 2006 (June 28-July 18). During that stretch, he went 28-for-69, hitting .406.

* If Zimmerman gets a hit tonight, he'll tie Nick Johnson for the second-longest hit streak in Nats history.

Here are the top 3...

Zimmerman, 17 - June 28-July 18, 2006
Johnson, 16 - April 10-26, 2005
Zimmerman, 15 - April 8, 2009-present

(*) Please note, undoubtedly this streak will end tonight now that it's being written about. If that happens, the Nationals Journal -- an entity of the Washington Post Co. -- takes full responsibility. Zimmerman takes none. When I approached him today, he said without missing a beat, "I don't want to talk about it." So we ended up talking about everything in code -- a comfortable start, a good April, etc.

By Chico Harlan  |  April 27, 2009; 6:00 PM ET
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Posted by: Lipty | April 27, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Chico -

I know you needed to muscle up a pre-game post, but did it have to threaten to hex a streak?

How about a Willie Harris/Cristian Guzman rehab ass't post, or a "I spoke to Elijah this afternoon and we're cool" post.

That's OK. With Joe Blanton and that bandbox, I smell a 3+ hour hitting exhibition that keeps the streak alive.

Carry on.

Posted by: WebberDC | April 27, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

The streak can be damned as long as we get a win.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 27, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse


Baseball no-no's 101 - Don't talk about no-hitters on the bench (or mention the phrase either on-air or on-line), don't mention that an opposing player has "never ___" [i.e. Hit a grand-slam, walked w/the bases loaded, etc.] (either on-air or on-line), or ask the player directly involved about streaks (hitting or pitching).

Baseball players (and a majority of their fans) are a superstitious lot.

Posted by: BinM | April 27, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

A question - will Guzman need (or get) a rehab assignment when he's ready to come back from the hamstring, or does Manny just drop him back into the lineup?

Posted by: BinM | April 27, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Top of the 1st - looks like Wendelstedt is calling "on the black" away as a strike. We'll see...

Posted by: BinM | April 27, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

I think Zimm took umbrage with this assertion. Two homers.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 27, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

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