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Can Andre Ethier reach Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak?

In tonight’s game against the Florida Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier set an MLB record for a hitting streak in April of 23 games.

Ethier has been on a tear throughout April, hitting .429 and tallying at least one extra-base hit in nine of the Dodgers’ last 11 games.

Sure, he’s less than halfway there, but could Andre Etheir make history this summer and reach Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak of 56 games?

The last major leaguer to even reach a 30-game game hitting streak was Washington Nationals third-baseman, Ryan Zimmerman, during the summer of 2008.

The player closest to DiMaggio’s streak of those playing in the last 20 years was Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins who put together an amazing 38 game run during the 2005 season.

It may seem too early to discuss the possibility of Ethier reaching DiMaggio’s streak of 56 games set during the summer of 1941, but with the protection the Dodgers southpaw sees in the lineup it is very possible his streak could continue for some time to come.

Casey Blake and Matt Kemp are both off to the type of starts early in the 2011 season which will ensure pitchers are not able to pitch around Ethier to reach deeper into the lineup and play the percentages game.

Blake is currently batting .321 with two home runs and six RBI’s through April, while Matt Kemp is flat out raking, batting .379 with five home runs and a team-best 18 runs batted in through the first month of the 2011 season.

If Blake and Kemp can continue on a similar pace of production, Ethier will continue to see quality pitches and have multiple opportunities during each contest to extend his streak.

Andre Ethier’s April performance has been outstanding– he has arguably been not only the National League’s but the MLB’s best hitter through the month.

Can Ethier continue to build on his 23-game hitting streak and make a legitimate shot at the Yankee Clipper’s seemingly unsurmountable streak of 56 games?