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.