By Nicolino DiBenedetto
(AP) — Andre Ethier is on the cusp of entering Los Angeles Dodgers’ lore, and an elbow injury hasn’t slowed him down.
He appears to have a favorable matchup Saturday.
Ethier looks to tie the longest hitting streak in Dodgers franchise history when he faces the New York Mets and starter Chris Young on Saturday night in Flushing.
After missing one game with inflammation in his left elbow, Ethier returned for Friday’s series opener and had three hits in Los Angeles’ 6-3 loss to extend his hitting streak to 30 games. With a hit Saturday, he’ll tie Willie Davis’ franchise-record 31-game streak set in 1969.
Ethier can also become the first player with a hitting streak longer than 30 games since Philadelphia’s Jimmy Rollins hit in 38 straight bridging the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
“I’m not really thinking about it other than for the fact there’s been a lot of support from the teammates, from fans at home,” Ethier said. “I’ve even had fans on the road cheering me on. It’s like: ‘I want you to get a hit, but don’t do too much. Just get one, and have it in a non-key spot.’ You don’t want to let them down when they’re cheering for you like that.”
Ethier, hitting .397 with three homers and 17 RBIs during his run, has to like his chances to enter the Dodgers’ record books with Young (1-0, 1.88 ERA) taking the mound for New York. He’s feasted on the oft-injured right-hander, going 12 for 29 with two doubles and six home runs.
The most recent matchup with Young clearly went in Ethier’s favor. He went 2 for 3 with two solo shots as Los Angeles (15-18) beat San Diego on June 9, 2009.
Shoulder trouble has kept Young from facing the Dodgers since. He’s 1-3 with a 5.45 ERA in his last six starts against them.
Young, however, has been impressive thus far in his first season with the Mets (14-18), and his latest effort may have been his best. He allowed two hits and struck out seven in seven scoreless innings of a 2-1, 14-inning win at Philadelphia on Sunday.
Mets shortstop Jose Reyes is batting .400 over his last six games. He went 3 for 4 with one double, two triples and two runs scored Friday, and he’s 5 for 6 with a triple in his career off probable Dodgers starter Jon Garland (1-2, 3.81).
Garland gave up three runs in six innings Sunday, but received no support from his offense in a 7-0 loss to the Padres.
“Jon’s a guy who always seems to find a way to keep himself in the game, and he’s always been that kind of guy,” Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said. “If he’s struggling with something, he’ll just basically almost invent stuff and change what he’s doing.”
The Dodgers right-hander is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in four career starts against the Mets.
Los Angeles is trying to avoid its fourth straight loss, while New York is aiming for a three-game winning streak.
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