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Klee: With streak over, Cuddyer still deserves All-Star selection

By: Paul Klee
July 2, 2013 Updated: July 2, 2013 at 10:55 pm

DENVER - On the night Michael Cuddyer's hitting streak came to an end, there was no jinx, no failed superstition, no bizarre plot twist.

There was only this: For the first time since May, there was no hit for Cuddyer.

The Dodgers blanked the Rockies, 8-0.

Clayton Kershaw blanked Cuddyer, 0 for 4.

It took the best pitcher in baseball to shut down the longest hitting streak this season in baseball.

Cuddyer's streak ended at 27 games, the longest in Rockies history.

"(Kershaw) had his 'A' game tonight," manager Walt Weiss said.

Before Cuddyer's feat fades into the franchise record book, let's get this out in the open.

Cuddyer deserves to play in the All-Star game. His was the longest same-season streak since Dan Uggla's 33-gamer two years ago. He's scored a hit in 53 of 59 games.

Anything less than an All-Star selection would be a baseball crime.

"But I've seen a lot of guys with great numbers get snubbed as well. It is what it is," Cuddyer said before the game. "But I think it would be fair to say it would be disappointing."

I arrived at the ballpark with three preconceived ideas: Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak will be broken by someone at some point, Yasiel Puig can't possibly be as brilliant as the hype, and Cuddyer would extend his hitting streak to 28 games.

I was 0 for 3.

There are certain baseball records made to be broken. Others won't be.

Like Cal Ripken's 2,632 consecutive games played and Cy Young's 511 career wins, the 56-game streak is an untouchable record. I write that not because another long streak came to an end - let's be real; Cuddyer wasn't halfway there - but because it showed how mind-blowing the 56-game streak really is.

"It's ridiculous," Cuddyer said. "I think that record's been around so long that you just throw '56' out there and it's just a number. But when you actually break it down, it's one of those records that's unattainable."

Cuddyer's hitting streak wasn't like a no-hitter, where the pitcher is off-limits.

Cuddyer was open about the hitting streak. He talked about it daily, because he was asked about it daily.

He joked about it, too, like when someone asked what he's doing during the streak, and he said, "The same thing I was doing when I couldn't hit (anything)."

"It's no different than how you treat any other day. You go out, do your job and hope you come through," Cuddyer said. "Twenty-seven days in a row, it has."

In the Dodgers dugout before the game, I asked manager Don Mattingly if Cuddyer had reached the point in a hitting streak when the pressure begins to mount.

"I don't know," Mattingly said. "I've never been that far."

Donnie Baseball's longest streak was 24 games, a notable number in itself.

"He seems like the kind of guy that's (just) going to go play," Mattingly said. "He's not that worried about it."

Mattingly was right on. Cuddyer is the kind of guy who simply appreciates the fact he wears cleats and a ballcap and gets paid generously for it.

"It's fun coming to the park every day to play baseball in general," he said.

As he stepped to home plate with two outs in the ninth, Cuddyer was 0 for 3. His hitting streak was in danger.

"I'm not scared to talk about it, because it's going to end eventually," Cuddyer told me in the clubhouse. "'When' is the question."

Was this when?

This was when.

That's the funny thing about hitting streaks. They rumble along to great fanfare. Then they end just as quickly, just as unceremoniously, as they begin.

No one remembers how it started, or how it ends.

The way he plays - as if an angry bear is chasing him to first base - Cuddyer deserves better than a footnote.

For the record, here's how the hitting streak started: On May 28 against the Astros, Cuddyer went 3-for-4 with a double.

Think about this, though. On May 27, Cuddyer served only as a pinch hitter. He went 0-for-1 and was hit by a pitch. But in the previous six games, he got at least one hit. If Cuddyer wasn't used a pinch-hitter on May 27, his streak would have reached 33 games.

For the record, here's how the streak ended: Two outs in the ninth. A lively Tuesday crowd of 37,419 on its feet. Cuddyer digs in with his right foot. He tightens his batting gloves.

Strike one. Ball one. Ball two. Foul ball, strike two. Fly ball to right field. Out.

All night, Kershaw made the Rockies look like they were batting in the dark.

He tossed a complete game and allowed four singles and no runs.

And he ended Cuddyer's streak.

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