Ibanez Loves New York
To say that Raul Ibanez has played well for the Seattle Mariners in New York would be an understatement. The man is on fire. But before addressing his current torrid stretch in New York, let’s take a look back at what Raul has done throughout the season.
After starting off this year by struggling at the plate (as most Mariners did) with a .188 batting average in 64 at-bats, Ibanez has turned it around recently, raising his season average to .224.
He has recorded a hit in each of the last six games that he has appeared in and racked up 12 RBI in that time span as well. Aside from that short stretch of games, Ibanez also has a .421 batting average in the month of May after an April that saw him hit a lowly .158.
He has launched four home runs in the month while hustling for one triple and one double as well.
So what exactly is behind this 40-year-old’s recent resurgence? Are the Mariners putting something in his water? Did he get new contact lenses?
The obvious answer to those questions above is an emphatic no, although I guess it is possible he did get new contact lenses, but that’s besides the point.
One of the simplest ways to answer the question of why Ibanez is performing so well is to simply say that he is playing in New York.
The place that he called home last year during his time with the Yankees, Raul has continued his hot streak at Yankee Stadium, blasting three home runs in the past two days while collecting four of his eight hits on the month against New York.
But that’s just the start of it. Ibanez crushed a grand slam in the first inning yesterday to send Phil Hughes whimpering with his tail between his legs and followed that with a two-run home run later in the game.
He’s scored three runs, is 4-for-9 in the series, and has accounted for eight of the Mariners’ 16 runs against New York.
This recent trend from one of the standout individuals on-and-off the field continues a streak that he began last year during his time playing for the Yankees before being picked up by the Mariners in the offseason.
Aside from blasting a key, walk-off home run against Boston with just a game remaining in the regular season, Ibanez also hit a home run in a playoff series with the Orioles at Yankee Stadium to tie the game up in the ninth before launching a walk-off solo shot that gave New York the win.
A monster at home in the postseason, Ibanez was also exceptional at home throughout the 2012 season. Compiling just a .208 average on the road for the Yankees last year, Ibanez hit .273 at Yankee Stadium while crushing 14 home runs and driving in 37 RBI in 187 at-bats.
Luckily for the Mariners, he has continued his hot trend in New York these past two days and will hopefully cap his series against the Yankees with another impressive performance tonight.
Unfortunately, though, this is the lone trip Seattle will tentatively take to New York this season.
That is unless the Mariners make the playoffs…