mariners

With the Mariners Ichiro, the unexpected has always been expected

What to expect?

I really like what Eric Wedge has been doing with this young Mariners team this season. The guy doesn’t seem afraid to shake things up. I didn’t mind him giving Chone Figgins a chance at lead off.

At the time it made sense.

It also made sense to bench him giving Dustin Ackley a shot up front. If Ichiro had actually been able to adjust to being a three hole hitter, this season’s numbers would look a lot different, however it just didn’t happen that way.

The good old days are no longer

Ah Ichiro. For a decade he was one of the only sparks of life in the M’s franchise.

He was the envy of the league, a true super star of international fame.

In the years that the Mariners failed to do anything interesting, fans starting cheering more for the individual records of Ichiro than they did for the team. I think the ownership did too and that is where a lot of things went down hill in decision making.

Ichiro

Back at the top spot, what can we expect out of Ichiro?

Why he is so wrong for this team

Ichiro is amazing, but you can’t build a team around him.

Ichiro is stoic with the press, vulgar to his team mates, quirky in his dress and zealous for his routine.

On the field he is unpredictable, risky, and bizarre in style. When he was at the top of the game those traits made him a nightmare for the opposition, but for his team mates he was almost just as frustrating.

He swings at bad pitches, he steals on bad counts, he doesn’t communicate well it seems to those around him.

Is it a coincidence that on his night off the Mariners had one of their best offensive productions….EVER!

For so long fans have been promised that the future would be better, but yet it never seemed to happen that way. I couldn’t help but think that perhaps, just perhaps Ichiro has been holding things back from truly exploding.

Back at the top spot, will we see a change?

Don’t get me wrong, even in the worst year of his career he still had what would be a dream season to so many average players.

I believe that Ichrio has it in him to get to the 3000 hit mark he seems to want so badly. He is guaranteed a spot in the hall of fame and probably a statue in Japan.

For a 38 year old he is in amazing shape and can still outrun guys 20 years younger than him and he still has a rocket arm. And when he earned back the lead off spot it seemed almost relieving as a fan.  It just felt right.

I’ve heard that Ichrio used to be an amazing pitcher. If he wants to stay in Seattle, maybe he should be the new closer. I think that would be an amazing story…alas all those flights of fancy are not going to happen.

Makes you really wonder though… what will happen?

Should Wedge move Ichiro to the closers spot? (photo espn.go.com)

What should we expect from Ichiro the rest of this season?

1.    Increased on base percentage.

As the lead off guy, there is at least one at bat where he isn’t guaranteed to hit into a double play. Ichiro swings at bad pitches which can throw a defender off, unless they are at double play depth.  Then they kill him.

2.    More stolen bases.

Ichrio’s stolen bases have been down this year, that is also because he hasn’t been on base nearly as often. With a better hitter in Ackley hitting behind him he is likely to get some better pitches to run on.

Anything else that comes from Ichiro would be a bonus at this point and beyond expectations. There are really no stats to go with for this transition as I think that Ichiro will see it as a new beginning.

I mean who would have predicted that he would hit 2 home runs in a single game in the lead off spot when he hit only one in his time in the three hole.

I’ve noticed a lot of down words on Twitter about Ichiro this season and I just have to say: Come on fans, don’t turn on him. 

He is still worth cheering for.

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