Note: Ethier living well and thriving late in games

In a 4-2 win over the Rockies last night, Andre Ethier hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the 13th inning to win it for the Dodgers.

It was Ethier’s fourth walk-off hit of the season, and he now has the last three of the Dodgers nine walk-off hits this year. Dating back to the beginning of last year, Ethier has seven walk-off hits.

Ethier leads the Dodgers with 15 home runs – three of which came against Seattle last Friday – and 52 RBIs.

After the game, Ethier talked about his success in late-game situations.

“It’s just about having fun and enjoying the moment,” Ethier said. “In a situation like that, it’s just about emotion and excitement. You can see the energy going into the situation and one swing can end the game. I’ve just been trying to learn to balance that energy.”

It’s weird, but I was in the clubhouse before Monday’s game and it just seems like Ethier is oozing confidence right now. The way he carries himself, the way he interacts with teammates, reporters and club employees, he just looks like a player ready to take his game to another level.

Granted, his batting average and OBP are down from last year, but he’s well on his way to exceeding his career highs in home runs and RBIs. At this point he seems a lock to make the National League All-Star team.

Considering all the turmoil going on with Milton Bradley in Chicago, it’s pretty obvious now the Dodgers stole Ethier from Oakland for Bradley and Antonio Perez prior to the 2006 season. As I recall, Dodgers’ G.M. Ned Colletti was basically ordered to trade Bradley soon after taking over as G.M., but with all of Bradley’s baggage finding a trade partner was difficult. In fact, only one serious offer emerged – and that was Billy Beane offering Ethier, who was coming off a breakout season in Double-A after entering the season as the A’s 16th best prospect.

Colletti, pressed to make a deal, agreed. The rest is history.

It isn’t often another G.M. gets the best of Beane, but in this case Colletti was the clear-cut winner.

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