Furcal en Fuego
Is there any big leaguer hotter than Rafael Furcal?
Simply stated — no.
Furcal was named Bank of America Presents the National League Player of the Week for the period of June 21-27. Furcal led the Majors with a .538 (14-for-26) batting average, nine runs scored and 24 total bases in six games. The Dodgers were 5-1 in those six games. It’s a remarkable accomplishment, considering what the 32-year-old Dodger shortstop has been through.
Furcal returned from the bereavement list on June 23 after a six-day absence from the team. His father passed awayon June 20 from pneumonia and complications from injuries suffered from being kicked by a horse on the family’s farm.
In Furcal’s first game back, a 2-1 loss to the Angels, he struggled in the field, making two errors, and went 0-for-4 at the plate. Since that game, Furcal has been baseball’s hottest hitter. In the 11-game span between June 24 and July 5, Furcal was 22-for-47, batting .468 with three home runs and 12 RBI. He also scored 16 runs and stole three bases.
Within that span was a string of seven consecutive multiple-hit games. The multiple-hit streak was the longest by a Dodger player since Tommy Davis had seven consecutive multi-hit games in 1962. The only other player to do it since the team moved to Los Angeles was Duke Snider, who had eight such games in a row in 1959.
Furcal reflected on his hot streak and his father recently.
“I’ve been feeling pretty good the whole year, it’s just I got hurt for a month and then I lost my father. It took a little bit more concentration for me,” said Furcal. “I know he loved baseball. He wanted me to keep playing hard the way I do it every time, and as soon as I get to the field, I started to forget the hurt.”
Furcal raised his batting average 40 points from June 24 to July 4, where it peaked at .338.