It’s easy to lose track of hitting streaks that span from one season to the next, but a September-April streak counts in the record books the same way it would if it spanned from May to July. Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals has one of the former variety: with his 3-for-4 day against the Tigers yesterday he has now hit safely in 28 straight games.
That streak began last September 10 when he followed an 0-for-4 day with a 1-for-4 day against the Chicago White Sox. He’ll attempt to keep it going at home against the Mariners this evening. Merrifield’s 28 games is only halfway to Joe DiMaggio and, of course, many a man has gotten that far only to fall short. Fifty-six is just a hard to fathom number for a hitting streak, especially in an age of low contact and high strikeout rates. Merrifield does stand a decent shot of setting a Royals record, however: he’s only two shy of tying and three shy of breaking George Brett’s record 30-game streak, which he set in 1980.
They Royals were bad last year but Merrifield was a bright spot, leading the league in hits. The Royals are bad this year — they just lost their fifth straight — but Merrifield’s streak is at least something fun for now.
Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale has been placed on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation, the club revealed Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to August 14. In a corresponding roster move, right-handed reliever Ryan Brasier was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.
It’s an alarming development for the 30-year-old ace, who has been remarkably injury-free after dealing with a lingering case of shoulder inflammation last summer. While he hasn’t replicated the career-high results he delivered over the last two seasons, he still leads Red Sox pitchers with 3.6 fWAR and will head to the IL with a 6-11 record in 25 starts, a 4.40 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, and league-best 13.3 SO/9 through 147 1/3 innings. A timetable has not been given for his return, nor has the severity of his injury been disclosed. Per Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski, Sale has been experiencing pain in his elbow since Wednesday and will undergo further evaluation in the days to come.
Brasier, 31, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket in mid-July after pitching to mixed results in the majors. He currently holds a 4.46 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.0 SO/9 with the Red Sox, though his results in Triple-A — one run, one walk, and 13 strikeouts over 9 1/3 innings — suggest that he might be capable of even sharper results when he rejoins the big league club.