Justin Ruggiano, the 31-year-old center fielder for the Miami Marlins, came oh-so-close to making history in the worst possible way.
Entering the Marlins’ Wednesday night game against the Kansas City Royals, Ruggiano was a remarkable 0-for-42, with his last hit coming on July 8. It was the longest streak of the majors this season and was just three more consecutive hitless at-bats away from tying the modern day record of 45, which is shared by Craig Counsell (2011) and Bill Bergen (1909).
Ruggiano, who has 12 HRs and 33 RBIs on the season, was hitting .224 before the 0-for-42 began. On August 11, the last day he would go hitless, his average had dipped down to .194.
But against the Royals, Ruggiano seemed poised to break out of his slump. There was no reason to expect that he would, but the general consensus is that the law of averages would even out. He was not going to remain hitless forever.
The outfielder got his first at-bat in the bottom of the second and ended the streak on an infield single. He batted again in the fourth, and again reached base on a single. This gave Ruggiano a new streak at 2-for-2, and marked the first time since July 8 that he recorded an RBI.
Ruggiano’s 2-for-2 ended after he flew out in the sixth, but with another single to start the top of the ninth, he will go into tomorrow’s contest with a one-game hitting streak, something he hasn’t had in 18 games. After his 3-for-4 day, he also raised his average from a .194 to a .201. Back over the Mendoza line, all in a day’s work.