Results tagged ‘ Ichiro Suzuki ’
IN TWO PARAGRAPHS: How much length is left in Phil Hughes’ leash? That’s the big question tonight, and Joe Girardi only gave Hughes a lukewarm endorsement. No, Hughes wasn’t terrible, and an Ichiro Suzuki error surely dented his line a bit, but the Yankees seem to be running out of patience. Hughes allowed five runs (three earned) and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings to a Blue Jays team that is very clearly playing spoiler, and Toronto posted a 5-2 victory over New York on Monday at Rogers Centre.
Hughes’ record fell to a nightmarish 4-13 with the loss, but the Yankees have been reluctant to make a change in their rotation because they haven’t been sure there are better options in the system. David Phelps, Michael Pineda and Vidal Nuno all could’ve been in that mix, but injuries have taken them out of the running. Maybe David Huff (3 1/3 hitless innings with five strikeouts) has vaulted into play. Just because they haven’t talked about it doesn’t mean they won’t.
MANAGER’S TAKE: “Right now [Hughes is] in our rotation. We haven’t talked about taking him out of our rotation. I think he had a walk that scored; a couple walks hurt him today. We didn’t make the play behind him and it looks a lot different if it’s three runs in five innings.” – Joe Girardi
Ichiro: “If I could’ve just gone straight home from right field, I would have. I was that embarrassed.”
Hughes: “It’s been very difficult. Every time I feel like I make some progress the last couple times out, it seems like you have these hiccups and it’s the way the whole season has gone. It’s been difficult, it’s been a struggle. I guess every time you have one of these outings I try and look at the positive. I still have the opportunity to pitch in big games where it really matters and that’s all I can do. I can’t get down on myself or negative all the time. I just have to stay confident and aggressive every time they give me the ball.”
Derek Jeter: “All the games are important, but Toronto’s got a good team. They’re not just going to lay down and let us walk all over them. They have a lot of pride over there, they have a great team. Remember, coming into this season, they were supposed to run away with the division, so they have a good team. Unfortunately for us, we couldn’t figure out the knuckleball today.”
Two milestones – Alex Rodriguez hit his 650th homer and Brett Gardner picked up his 500th career hit in the loss … Derek Jeter went 0-for-3 with a walk and double play. … A-Rod has 35 homers at Rogers Centre, the most by any Blue Jays opponent. … The Blue Jays snapped a streak of 10 straight losses to the Yankees.
The Yankees give the ball to Andy Pettitte (9-9, 4.26) on Tuesday opposite the Blue Jays’ J.A. Happ (3-3, 5.10) in a matchup of lefties. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET on YES. The Yankees have lost three of their last four games after carrying a five-game winning streak into this road trip.
Ichiro Suzuki collected two hits in the first game of Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader, giving him 3,999 career hits when you combine his Japanese and Major League totals. We all love round numbers, and so obviously his next hit will be a big one.
“I’m trying to get a hit every time and I’m excited to get up there to do that,” Ichiro said.
Ichiro isn’t in the Yankees’ lineup for Game 2 against lefty Mark Buehrle, which gives us a little more time to examine this. How exactly to interpret the accomplishment is up for debate, and even Ichiro himself isn’t quite sure how to view it.
(This is nothing new. Here’s a 2008 Seattle Times article that wondered how to handle Ichiro’s 3,000th hit.)
What is certain, though, is that 4,000 hits is a remarkable feat – as Derek Jeter said recently, “That’s a lot of hits, man. It’s pretty impressive. I don’t care if it’s 4,000 in Little League. It shows how consistent he’s been throughout his career.”
Now, no one is saying that Ichiro is challenging Pete Rose’s 4,256, but that hasn’t stopped some voices from discounting the achievement. One common refrain has been that if Ichiro’s 1,278 hits in Japan should be counted in his hits total, then we should also be counting the Minor League hit totals of players.
That was something I looked into last week for this article, which has some fun comments from around the league. You might be surprised by the results:
The argument has been made that if Ichiro’s NPB stats are considered, then perhaps Minor League statistics should also be credited in considering hit totals. But to do so just further highlights the select group Ichiro is about to join.
For the purposes of this exercise, only three additional players would then reach 4,000 professional hits: Hank Aaron (3,771 in Majors; 324 in Minors), Stan Musial (3,630 in Majors, 371 in Minors) and Jigger Statz, an outfielder who tallied 737 of his 4,093 pro hits with four big league teams from 1919-28.
Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial (and, for good measure, a guy named Jigger Statz!). That’s pretty select company, no matter where your career started. Oh, by the way, Ichiro’s 2,721 big league hits also tie him with Lou Gehrig on the all-time list, and there’s no debate about that one.
Here’s Ichiro’s complete career hits breakdown entering Tuesday’s second game:
2,721 in American League
1,278 in Japanese Pacific League
156 in Japanese Western League (minors)
3,999 in U.S./Japan major leagues
4,156 in professional baseball
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go read up on Arnold “Jigger” Statz.
The Yankees split their doubleheader with the Dodgers on Wednesday, winning the first game 6-4 behind strong performances from Ichiro Suzuki and Hiroki Kuroda.
They then flopped in the nightcap, as Phil Hughes allowed five runs in six innings and the Yankees mustered just three singles against Chris Capuano and two relievers in a 6-0 loss.
We’ve recapped all of the day’s action in story form on MLB.com and Yankees.com, of course, but here is a quick rundown of what you might have missed in the deluge:
- It was exciting to get an in-person look at Yasiel Puig. He’s just as fun to watch as advertised, and I wish he played in the American League East so we could see it more regularly. The Yankees and the Dodgers both disagree with me on that point, I’m sure.
- Mariano Rivera bested the intriguing rookie in a ninth-inning battle to end the first game.
- Lyle Spencer compared Puig to Ichiro Suzuki very nicely: “Ichiro improvises cool jazz. Puig is hard rock, charged by electricity.” When Puig stepped in against Adam Warren in the seventh inning, I wasn’t even able to manage to say, “I don’t like this matchup for Adam Wa…” before Puig flicked his wrists and hit an opposite-field homer. He’s special.
- Joe Girardi said that he has not given any thought to removing Hughes from the rotation, but acknowledged the struggles we’re all seeing. “I think it’s location for him, location of his fastball, and staying out of long counts,” Girardi said.
- Zoilo Almonte made his big league debut, grounding out as a pinch-hitter for Austin Romine in the ninth inning of the second game. Joe Girardi had said that he planned to give Almonte a start in the second game, as well as against one of the Rays right-handers, but obviously changed his mind between games. Almonte is the Yankees’ No. 10 prospect, according to MLB.com.
- Robinson Cano was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double in the second game, and Girardi was a bit mystified why that happened. “He took too wide of a turn, and I’m not really sure why he took such a wide turn, but he did,” Girardi said.
- Austin Romine’s troubles at the plate continue, but with Francisco Cervelli not expected back until the middle of July, Girardi said that he can keep trotting Romine out as his backup catcher. ”I think he’s done a pretty good job behind the plate,” Girardi said. “He’s struggled offensively, there’s no doubt about it. Early on he was hitting some balls hard and he wasn’t having a whole lot of luck. But he’s done a pretty good job for me behind the plate.”
- Jason Kidd threw the ceremonial first pitch for the nightcap.
- The Bleacher Creatures twice serenaded Dodgers manager Don Mattingly with chants of “Don-nie Base-ball,” and Mattingly doffed his cap both times.
The Yankees have lost six of their last eight games as they head into a four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays tonight. Here are the pitching probables, game times and local television information:
Thur., 6/20 vs. Tampa Bay: LHP Andy Pettitte (5-4, 3.95) vs. LHP Matt Moore (8-3, 4.12), 7:05 p.m. YES
Fri., 6/21 vs. Tampa Bay: RHP David Phelps (4-4, 4.08) vs. RHP Roberto Hernandez (4-7, 5.02), 7:05 p.m. MY9
Sat., 6/22 vs. Tampa Bay: LHP CC Sabathia (7-5, 3.93) vs. TBD, 1:05 p.m. YES/MLB Net.
Sun., 6/23 vs. Tampa Bay: TBD (Ivan Nova?) vs. RHP Chris Archer (1-3, 5.03), 2:05 p.m. YES/TBS
“Signing with the Yankees has given me a new sense of determination,” Ichiro told The Associated Press. “This is a unique team. A team that can have a player like Alex Rodriguez as a pinch hitter is special, and to be part of that is exciting.”
That probably sounds good to the Yankees, who are rolling the dice that Ichiro will be able to continue what he started after being acquired from the Mariners. Ichiro proved to be a good fit in the lineup and in the clubhouse following the July 22 trade, batting .322 (with a .340 on-base percentage), five homers, 27 RBIs and 14 steals in 67 games. He was rewarded with a two-year, $13 million deal.
Ichiro confirmed that he will not participate in the World Baseball Classic after playing for Japan in the 2006 and 2009 tournaments. He declined to explain his reasons, and also apparently bristled when a reporter pointed out that he will turn 40 in October.
“It’s annoying to be asked about age,” Ichiro said, according to the AP.
The Yankees are making progress toward a new contract with outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, according to multiple published reports.
ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reported that Ichiro, 39, and the Yankees are expected to come to an agreement “within the next few days.”
Ichiro’s agent, Tony Attanasio, has said that Ichiro’s first choice was to return to the Yankees, where he batted .322 with five home runs and 27 RBIs in 67 games after being acquired from the Mariners on July 23.
A .323 hitter in the big leagues and the owner of 2,606 Major League hits, plus 1,278 more in Japan, Ichiro was reportedly irked by a lack of attention from the Yankees early in the free agent process when the club was prioritizing starting pitching.
But having signed pitchers Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera for a combined $37 million in one-year deals, the Yankees began to turn their attention to offense at the Winter Meetings and held meetings with Ichiro’s camp, among others.
Ichiro was in the final year of a five-year, $90 million deal when he was acquired by the Yankees, earning $17 million in 2012. The Mariners included cash considerations in the trade for pitchers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar.
If Ichiro returns, the Yankees will have an all left-handed hitting outfield, with Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson in place. Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that if that happens, a right-handed bat in the role that Andruw Jones filled in 2011-12 will become a priority.
The Yankees are also waiting on a response from free agent infielder Kevin Youkilis, who is weighing a one-year, $12 million contract offer from the club.
The Mariners are in town to open a weekend series with the Yankees tonight, and no one should expect Ichiro Suzuki to look longingly into the visiting dugout. This was the change of scenery he wanted and needed, so Ichiro should be quite happy when he slips on his pinstripes for tonight’s game.
“When I come to the ballpark, it does feel like home now,” Ichiro said on Wednesday. “I haven’t found a place to live yet. I’m just in a hotel, so that might take a little bit. But definitely here, I feel a little bit more at home.”
From personal experience, I’d say good luck with that apartment hunting, Ichiro — although I’d imagine he isn’t looking at many fourth-floor walkups. But forget those midtown penthouses he’s dabbling with; the Yankees are more concerned with how Ichiro adapts to left field.
He made his first appearance there on Wednesday and the Yankees were impressed with the results; outfield coach Rob Thomson gushed that it was “amazing” how quickly Ichiro seemed to pick up the nuances of the position when he wandered out there for the first time during batting practice.
“Left field being a bigger position, the field is bigger out there, so obviously you can use your range,” Ichiro said. “That kind of brings a little bit of excitement to me, to be able to cover more ground. Obviously it’s not right field. If it were right field, and it’s a big stadium, I’m a little more comfortable. I just have to get used to it in the games and just get adjusted.”
The only other time Ichiro had played left field was in Game 5 of the 2001 ALCS, when Mariners manager Lou Piniella wanted to make room for Jay Buhner in right field and shifted Ichiro to left. It didn’t work out: the Yankees beat Seattle, 12-3, to advance to the World Series.
7/27/12: New Yankee Ichiro arrives in the Bronx, and takes time to discuss his interest in and knowledge about the franchise
Ichiro Suzuki was acknowledged by the crowd at Safeco Field before what may prove to be his final game in the city of Seattle. The Mariners played a brief tribute to the local icon before he led off Wednesday’s game for the Yankees, with the phrase, “Ichiro, thanks for the thrills,” on the scoreboard in center field.
As he did on Monday, Ichiro doffed his batting helmet and bowed to the crowd before stepping in, grounding out to second baseman Dustin Ackley. Ichiro will not travel with the Yankees back to New York on Wednesday, as he’ll remain in Seattle for an extra day to tie up loose ends and figure out how to pack for two months (or more) in the Big Apple.
Ichiro will join his new club in time for Friday’s series opener with the Red Sox, something he said he’s excited about.
“Obviously I’ve only been there on the visitor’s side, but as a visiting player, you get a lot of the fans heckling you a little bit,” Ichiro said. “And I actually kind of enjoyed that. I enjoyed that with the fans. Now that I’m on the home side, I’m not sure what to expect, what the reaction will be like.”
There are few things in sports today as automatic as seeing Mariano Rivera holding a baseball in the bottom of the ninth inning, with two outs and nobody on base. Thanks for coming, arrive home safely. Right?
Wrong. Mike Sweeney launched a double that one-hopped the wall in right-center field, eluding the racing grasp of Brett Gardner, and Ichiro Suzuki slugged a Rivera cutter into the right field seats to celebrate his second walk-off hit in as many games. Rivera threw two pitches, both were hit very hard, and the Yankees lost.
“I wish I could bring it back and make my pitches, but it’s done,” Rivera said. “I just have to move forward.”
That was typical Mo cool, looking at it in the matter-of-fact viewpoint that can only be obtained by having been there and done it in the biggest spots baseball can present. But Rivera was very forthcoming when asked if this had been the best run of his life, a career-high string of 36 consecutive save opportunities converted until the Mariners celebrated last night.
“I wouldn’t say that,” Rivera said. “I know the numbers maybe show that,
but it would be impossible for me to say that. I’m throwing whatever
I’m throwing right now. Before, I used to throw harder. It’s totally
different. Am I more mature? Yes. But not strong like back then,
Still, Rivera had allowed one run in his last 33 innings of work. That’s nothing to sniff at.
“That’s a pretty incredible feat,” Johnny Damon said. “Hopefully this means he’s not going to give up another run until March.”
Our buddy Steve Lombardi of WasWatching.com chips in with the following stat — Ichiro joins Marco Scutaro, Bill Mueller, and Bill Selby as the only batters to
hit a regular season, bottom of the 9th inning, walk-off homerun off
in the 11th inning of a tie game. Suzuki, Scutaro, Mueller and Selby
all did it in the ninth, with their team trailing. Suzuki, Scutaro, and Selby all did it after two-outs. Mueller did it after one out. Links to the games can be found here.