Sizzling David Fletcher leads Angels against Mariners

MLB Baseball

David Fletcher is two games shy of tying the Los Angeles Angels’ franchise record for their longest hitting streak.

And that means he’s also two games shy of being halfway to Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio’s record 56-game streak, set in 1941.

“I did the math, and I’d reach 55 games in Yankee Stadium,” Fletcher told reporters a week and a half ago.

Indeed, the Angels have a makeup game Aug. 16 in New York, where DiMaggio was known as the “Yankee Clipper.”

“How crazy would that be?” Fletcher said.

The reigning American League Player of the Week has continued his torrid tear, hitting three doubles and driving in five runs Saturday night as the Angels defeated the visiting Seattle Mariners 9-4. The teams will wrap up their three-game series Sunday afternoon in Anaheim, Calif.

Fletcher hit the first pitch from All-Star Yusei Kikuchi in the bottom of the first inning for a double to extend his streak, breaking a tie with Rod Carew for the second-longest in franchise history. Garret Anderson holds the record with hits in 28 straight games in 1998.

He added a three-run double in the second inning to break a scoreless tie and a two-run double in the eighth to give the Angels a 9-1 lead.

Fletcher is batting .454 during his streak with 13 doubles and 21 RBIs.

“There’s nobody I’ve played with that’s more confident than he is, and he backs it up,” said Angels right-hander Alex Cobb, who got the victory Saturday with 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball.

“He’s just fun to be around. He’s got this energy about him that he’s just going to get the job done, and that’s what he looks like when he’s playing. It’s not always going to be pretty, but he’s going to get the job done. You can’t play defense on him. He hits everything.”

Angels manager Joe Maddon took it a step further.

“I think there’s Joe Namath, and then there’s David Fletcher. Two tremendous lore-like heroes,” Maddon said. “He’s got that thing. There’s nothing on that baseball field that he doesn’t think he can do. The lore of David Fletcher is beginning.”

Fletcher will try to extend his streak Sunday against Mariners rookie right-hander Logan Gilbert (3-2, 3.51 ERA). Gilbert earned his first major-league victory June 6 in Anaheim, when he allowed one run on two hits over five innings in his only previous appearance against the Angels.

The Mariners have won the past eight of Gilbert’s 10 starts, including a 4-0 victory on July 8 against the visiting Yankees in which Gilbert allowed one hit, didn’t walk a batter and struck out a career-high eight in seven innings.

“Intimidated is not anywhere in his vocabulary,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “I think you get a read on guys coming out of their starting pitcher meeting headed into the game, and I asked (pitching coach Pete Woodworth) how it went.And he said, ‘I wish I could’ve recorded it. Every young pitcher should hear that. That’s how you need to go after that type of ballclub.'”

The Angels will counter with left-hander Patrick Sandoval (2-3, 3.70), who suffered a 2-0 loss July 10 at Seattle despite allowing two runs on six hits with six strikeouts in a career-high seven innings. He’s 0-2 with a 2.65 ERA in three career starts against the Mariners.

–Field Level Media

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