Andre Ethier (LAN) extended his hitting streak to 24 games Wednesday afternoon. A .279 career hitter, Andre's batting average stands at .380 in 2011. The pattern that pitchers used against him doesn't seem to be working this year.
During the previous three seasons, Ethier did his best hitting on balls inside:
So pitchers worked him away:
They continue to work him away in 2011:
What's changed is Andre is poking those outside pitches for hits:
So is this real, or just an early season fluke? Andre hasn't really changed his approach. He's not swinging more at outside pitches, except those in the upper outside corner. He's squaring up those pitches better, however. In the past, 19% of balls he put in play on outside pitches resulted in line drives. This season, 35% of those pitches turn into line drives. That seems like an unsustainable rate, but for now, the old way of pitching to the Dodgers outfielder just isn't working.