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Tag: Ichiro Suzuki

Smile: It Won’t Mess Up Your Hair

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The Yankees honored Hideki Matsui before the game today and then Derek Jeter made like Derek Jeter and hit the first pitch he saw from Matt Moore over the wall in right field for a home run.


It was the first time a Yankee had homered since the All-Star break, the first time a right-handed Yankee batter homered since Christ was a cowboy.


By the end of the first the Yanks had a 3-0 lead. But then Phil Hughes made like Phil Hughes and he gave it away. Not once, but twice, both on impressive home runs by Wil Myers. The first, a 3-run job, came off a hanging slider that Myers hit it deep into the left field seats. Second one came off a fastball that Myers punched well over the wall in right.

Not to be outdone, Alfonso Soriano hit a 2-run homer–of the cheap-o right field seats variety. He got 4 of the Yankees’ 12 hits (Jeter had 2) including the game-winner in the 9th, a clean single up the middle. He didn’t whack any of them except his homer but hey, 4 hits be 4 hits, right?

So Jeter returns and is a stud, Soriano has a big day, our man Hideki is celebrated. A nifty win on a cool day in the Bronx. Should be mentioned that the Yanks don’t win this game without the stellar work by the bullpen. Preston Claiborne got six straight outs and then Boone Logan, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera each pitched a scoreless frame.

Final Score: Yanks 6, Rays 5.


Thanks, Yanks.

[Photo Credit: Brad Penner; Kathy Willens]

He Keeps Coming Up with More and More Hits

Joshua Prager, author of The Echoing Green, has a feature on Derek Jeter and Pete Rose’s all-time hit record today in the New York Times:

“The toughest thing about baseball is you don’t know why you’re doing — or not doing — this or that,” the player, Ichiro Suzuki, said.

Suzuki, a Yankees outfielder, had at that point amassed a combined 3,830 hits in Japan and the United States, a remarkable if unofficial total. But his annual hit total was set to decline for the third straight season. Was age to blame?

“It’s not that your physical body gains weight, but that your thinking gains weight,” said Suzuki, 38. He tightened a belt about a waist that had been 31 inches all his career and explained that expectation was a burden that only grew. The outside world always let you know when a milestone was in reach.

I also like this appreciation:

“I don’t think very many people understand how unique he is, as a hitter,” Bill James, the father of advanced baseball statistics, wrote in an e-mail. “At-bat after at-bat, he is able to hit the ball to right field NOT by swinging late, but by just clipping the inside of the baseball, hitting the ball off-center so that it flares off his bat to right field. Other people do it once in a while by accident, but I’ve never seen anybody other than Jeter do it constantly.”

I don’t think Jeter will catch Rose. Don’t think he’s that single(s)-minded. But it’s fun to consider, isn’t it?

[Photo Credit: N.Y. Daily News]

Color By Numbers: One-Hit Wonder

Photo: AP

Ichiro Suzuki has been a Yankee for only nine games, but the future Hall of Famer is already approaching a franchise record. With a safety in every ballgame since joining the team, Suzuki is one series away from matching the longest hitting streak by a player beginning his pinstriped career.

Longest Hitting Streaks to Begin Yankee Career, Since 1918

Source: baseball-reference.com

OK, fine, not all hitting streaks are created equal. Even though Ichiro has matched Nick Swisher’s nine straight games, his OPS during that span has been but a fraction. Whereas Swisher pounded out 13 hits and four homers, while driving in 11 runs, by comparison, Ichiro has managed only one hit per game, including seven singles and no walks. As a result, the outfielder has posted a paltry OPS of .631, which is actually lower than his season rate of 0.641. Although hitting streaks tend to be noteworthy regardless of the underlying production, Ichiro’s string of nine straight games has disguised some of the early disappointment regarding his initial offensive contribution.

If Ichiro extends his “one-a-day” hitting streak to 10, he’ll not only inch closer to Don Slaught’s record of 12 straight games with a hit to begin a Yankee career, but also tie five others for the longest string of one-hit games in franchise history. The most recent player to accomplish the task was Steve Sax in 1990, but the most productive vitamin-style streak was turned in by Hall of Famer Joe Gordon, who made the most of his 10 hits by knocking in 11 runs to go along with an OPS of 1.075.

Longest One-A-Day Hitting Streaks in Yankees’ History, Since 1918

Source: baseball-reference.com

Should Ichiro surpass the quintet of Yankees’ one-hit masters, he can then set his sights on Ted Sizemore, who recorded exactly one safety in 16 straight games in June 1975 while playing for the St. Louis Cardinals. Over that span, the middle infielder compiled an OPS of 0.621, which although far from impressive, represented an improvement over the 0.597 rate that he posted for the entire season. As evidenced by the chart below, the list of players with the longest one-a-day hitting streaks doesn’t read like a “Who’s Who”, so, even if it means a hitless game, Ichiro might be better off not joining it.

Longest One-A-Day Hitting Streaks in MLB History, Since 1918

Source: baseball-reference.com

When the Yankees acquired Ichiro Suzuki, there was some hope that the 38-year old would be re-energized by the trade and turn back the clock for a month or two. Although history suggests that’s not likely, there’s still time for Ichiro to fulfill that expectation. However, in order to do so, he’ll need more than one hit per game. Then again, vitamins are often taken to restore youth, so maybe there’s a method to Ichiro’s one-a-day streak?

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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