It's double-or-nothing in BTS chase of $5.6M
Astros fan can run streak to 43 if Votto, Gordon get hits
After extending his Beat the Streak run to 41 games thanks to a Miguel Cabrera double Tuesday, Michael Ray is doubling down himself Wednesday night.
The 28-year-old Astros fan from Brenham, Texas, selected Reds first baseman Joey Votto and Royals left fielder Alex Gordon as a "Double Down" selection. If both players record hits, Ray's streak will jump to 43, but if either player goes hitless, he's back to zero.
Votto's Reds are facing Marlins right-hander Alex Sanabia, while Gordon and the Royals take on Angels righty Barry Enright.
Ray has used the "Double Down" feature more than 10 times this season. In doing so, he has been able to move ahead in an expedient fashion.
"My only thought process with picking Votto and Gordon was the fact that the pitchers they're facing aren't very good," Ray told MLB.com on Wednesday. "I thought they could possibly be high scoring games, and hopefully the guys I picked could manage to pick up a hit as a result."
The owner of the 2013 season's longest streak to date, Ray is enjoying unprecedented personal BTS success. In fact, he had never previously compiled a double-digit streak. So how is he doing it?
"I'm not using any strategies, really," said Ray, who is in his third season of BTS play. "[I am] just trying to pick the studs off of each team and exploit the good pitching matchups."
The object of MLB.com's Beat the Streak game is to establish a virtual "hitting streak" and keep it going for as long as possible. Fans can do this by selecting one or two big leaguers on any game day. If those player(s) record at least one hit in the game for which they were selected, the streak continues. Fans do not have to make 57 consecutive correct picks to claim a prize -- awards are given to those who achieve 45-, 35- and 30-game streaks.
An MRI/CT/X-Ray technologist by trade and an ardent fan of Astros legend Craig Biggio, Ray would be excited by the prospect of assisting others should he manage to win the $5.6 million grand prize. In order to do so, one must make 57 straight successful BTS selections.
What advice does Ray give others chasing 56?
"I like to try to stick with the studs of the team, like Cabrera, [Adam] Jones, [Robinson] Cano, [Mike] Trout, etc," he said. "Those are the type of players that hit for higher average and are more consistent. I personally don't like picking rookies, or older players like Paul Konerko or Michael Young, as they tend to be inconsistent. I also like to stay away from the all-or-nothing hitters -- it's usually a home run or a strikeout -- like Adam Dunn or Ryan Howard. Also, I like to pick players at the top of the lineup, just to maximize the number of possible at-bats.
"With all that being said, I would also like to say sometimes it comes down to just being lucky."
The question everyone is clamoring to answer is whether Ray will have the mettle to reach the apex of the BTS mountain. Unfortunately, we will have to wait to find out. But for the time being, let's all sit back -- nah, stand up -- and cheer him on as he chases history … and a whole lot of cash.
Zachary Finkelstein is a fantasy editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.