Well, it’s not the WHOLE secret, but it’s at least a part of it. It has to do with how he is hitting against left-handed pitchers, which is supposed to be a weakness for LH hitters. Ethier entered this season hitting .305 for his career against RHPs, .281 against LHPs. Last year, the difference was stark: .326 vs. RHPs, .243 vs. LHPs. Well, so far this year, he is hitting slightly HIGHER against LHPs (.316) than against RHPs (.314). He also has hit three of his five HRs and has seven of his 20 RBI against LHPs, and to put those numbers in perspective, he has 19 ABs and 21 PAs against LHPs as opposed to 51 ABs and 66 PAs against righties. He also has a ridiculous .842 slugging percentage against lefties (second in the majors) as opposed to just .510 against righties. He does have a higher OBP (.455) against righties than lefties (.381).
Here is tonight’s lineup. Many of you have been clamoring to see Matt Kemp in the cleanup spot, and you are getting your wish tonight. But don’t get used to it. My guess is the only reason he is there is because James Loney is sitting. Loney is 1 for 20 lifetime, albeit with six walks and no strikeouts, against Barry Zito. Kemp is 14 for 27 (.519) against him, with seven walks and only three Ks.