Michael Ray's bid for a double-double proved to be double trouble.
After extending his Beat the Streak run to 43 on Wednesday night courtesy of sluggers Joey Votto and Alex Gordon, the 28-year-old Astros fan from Brenham, Texas, is utilizing the "Double Down" feature again Thursday afternoon, selecting Cardinals sluggers Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig.
Ray got halfway to achieving his goal after Beltran doubled off former teammate Jon Niese in the first inning, but Craig was hitless on the day and Ray's streak was stopped at 43.
Ray has used the "Double Down" feature more than 10 times this season. In doing so, he had been able to move ahead in an expedient fashion.
The owner of the 2013 season's longest streak to date, Ray enjoyed unprecedented personal BTS success. In fact, he had never previously compiled a double-digit streak. So how did he do it?
"I'm not using any strategies, really," said Ray, before his streak was snapped. "[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 put together a momentous streak.
Mike Karatzia set the game's all-time mark in 2007, with a streak of 49.
What advice does Ray give others chasing 56?
"I like to try to stick with the studs of the team, like [Miguel] 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."
Zachary Finkelstein is a fantasy editor for MLB.com.