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Whit Merrifield ties Royals record with 30-game hitting streak

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With a leadoff triple in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday night against the Mariners, Royals outfielder Whit Merrifield extended his hitting streak to 30 games.

Merrifield’s 30-game hitting streak puts him in a tie for George Brett for the longest hitting streak by a Royals batter. Brett hit in 30 straight between July 18 and August 18 in 1980. The Royals went to the World Series that year.

Merrifield’s streak began on September 10 last season. He entered Tuesday batting .325/.378/.496 throughout his streak. It’s the longest hitting streak in baseball since the Braves’ Freddie Freeman hit in 30 consecutive games between August 24 and September 28 in 2016.

In January, Merrifield inked a four-year, $16.25 million extension with the Royals. It appears the club got a bargain. Merrifield wrapped up last season hitting .304/.367/.438 with 12 home runs, 60 RBI, and 88 runs scored. He led all of baseball with 192 hits and 45 stolen bases. He’s off to the races again tto start 2019.

Joe Girardi steps down as manager of USA Baseball

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Baseball is an Olympic sport once again and USA Baseball begins the road to qualifying for the 2020 Games in just a couple of weeks. They’ll be doing it with a new manager, though, as current team USA manager Joe Girardi has stepped down from the role in order to concentrate on his quest to return to managing in the big leagues.

Girardi has interviewed for the Cubs job already and is candidate for the openings with the Mets and the Phillies. His stepping down from the Olympic job suggests that he thinks he stands a pretty good chance of getting one of the seven current openings around the game. Or, at the very least, that he wishes to show clubs with openings that he’s serious.

Girardi will be replaced by Scott Brosius, who was poised to be Girardi’s bench coach with Team USA.

The team begins training in Arizona on October 21. It begins playing qualifier games in early November in Mexico. Eventually, the 2020 Olympic Games will feature a six-nation field.