Tag:Ichiro Suzuki
Posted on: August 12, 2010 6:20 pm

Ichiro chasing 10th consecutive 200-hit season

Ichiro Suzuki With 47 games left in the season, there's not much cause for fans to watch the 44-71 Mariners stumble to their second 100-loss season in three seasons.

But one reason to watch the rest of the season is Ichiro's chase of a 10th consecutive season with 200 hits. If he can do it, he will break his own record of nine consecutive which broke Wee Willie Keeler's eight, culminating in 1901.

And he could set a new record, tying Pete Rose for the most seasons with at least 200 hits -- except while Ichiro's record would be consecutive, Rose's was set over 17 seasons.

To do so, however, Ichiro has a tough path. With 147 hits, he needs 53 in the 47 games left, but hitting coach Alonzo Powell isn't concerned, despite a poor July that saw him hit just .346.

"He is a guy who can run off 50 hits in a month," Powell told MLB.com. "He has done it a number of times."

With a .317 average so far in August, Ichiro has pulled his projected total to 207 hits. August has generally been feast or famine for him over his career, so it's questionable if he can keep up his hot start to the month -- especially on a team going nowhere and seemingly deteriorating from behind the scenes.

But don't count out the motivation of that 10th straight season with 200 hits.

Keizo Konishi, a reporter from Japan who has covered Ichiro's time stateside, says "I think 200 hits is one of the most important things for him, just like it is every year -- but what I feel is that he seems to think it's a little bit different than last year. He already is at the top of that record. ... This year it would be good to have 200 hits, but it's different than last year." 

Okay, so if the team is floundering and he has some -- but not a lot -- of motivation to get 200 hits, what's he playing for?

"He has to play hard for the expectations of the fans and the expectations of himself," Konishi said. "He plays for his pride."

Recently deposed manager Don Wakamatsu also weighed in prior to his firing of Ichiro's off season, saying that the lack of a thumper in the middle of the order has changed how Ichiro is pitched.

"He's the only .300 hitter in the lineup and he normally doesn't walk, so they are forcing him to swing at pitches a little farther out of the zone than he normally does," Wakamatsu said. "I see him fouling off a lot more pitches than I did last year. Not because he is missing, but because the pitches are not as good as he was afforded last year, in my opinion."

If Ichiro misses out on 200 hits, that doesn't mean he won't be back in 2011 to chase another 200-hit season. Or 2012. Or 2013. Or even all the way through 2020.

"He keeps himself in great shape and works hard," Powell said. "If he puts his mind to it, I think he could play another 10 years."

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 3, 2010 9:59 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:16 pm

Scioscia against All-Stars for every team

Jose Rosado Because I grew up a Royals fan everywhere but Missouri, I've always been a fan of the rule requiring each team to have at least one representative for the All-Star Game.

Whether I lived in Cuba, Virginia, Texas, Japan or Georgia -- I was always guaranteed to see someone in a Royals uniform (usually George Brett) on TV every year. Not that the Royals of my youth needed the courtesy All-Star, they'd usually earned more than one berth in the game, but still, I knew there'd always be at least one. Sometimes that was the only time all year I'd be able to see a Royal on TV.

Now, though, I could -- if I wanted to punish myself -- watch just about every pitch of the Royals' awful season. With my MLB.tv subscription, my PS3, iPad and iPhone, I can watch those beautiful powder blue tops no matter where I go. That technology -- not to mention the advent of MLB Network, cable and satellite -- may have made the reason for the rule to have every team represented obsolete.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he thinks the rule should no longer apply.

"I'm all in favor of having guidelines where you try and represent every team," Scioscia told reporters, including the Orange County Register . "To have a hard-line rule, I think there are exceptions where a team doesn't have anyone All-Star worthy."

Scioscia was the manager of the All-Star team in 2003, when Lance Carter of the Ryas made the team with a 4.05 ERA and six blown saves.

"It's really a misnomer to say the manager picks the All-Star team. It doesn't happen," Scioscia said. "That team, with the guidelines in place, is virtually picked before it ever gets to the [manager]."

The rule helps explain why Jose Rosado's obituary will list him as a two-time All-Star and Mark Redman has an appearance on his resume.

There are currently 13 teams with losing records, some have obvious choices (like, say, the Cubs' Marlon Byrd or the Indians' Shin-Soo Choo), while it's a little tougher to choose a worthy All-Star from a team like the 24-55 Orioles (Ty Wigginton, Luke Scott?) or the 32-49 Astros (Dan Haren and his 4.56 ERA?)

Not all bad teams are created equally. The 33-46 Mariners have three worthy All-Stars in Ichiro Suzuki (who will no doubt be voted into the starting lineup by fans), Cliff Lee (if he's still a Mariner in a week) and Felix Hernandez. Even the Royals, at 35-45, wouldn't be embarrassed by David DeJesus, Joakim Soria or even Zack Greinke, who is having a down year.

If the game is truly for the fans, why not let it represent all the fans, and not just the Yankees and Red Sox? Baseball's All-Star Game is a celebration of the game with its best players and some of its nearly-best player or best players on one team. In the end, after injuries and the new rule against pitchers who pitch on Sunday throwing again in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, is it really that terrible to have the 75th best player in the game "snubbed" for the 131st?

In the end, I think of the 11-year old me waiting for Kevin Seitzer to get in the game, even if that visual is as anachronistic as my father listening to the Kansas City A's on the radio. Maybe out there somewhere, there's a kid excited about watch Andrew McCutchen get in the game, even if it's not "fair".

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 3, 2010 12:23 am
Edited on: July 3, 2010 2:38 am

Andrus, Wells, Rios snubbed in All-Star voting

Elvis Andrus All-Star voting was halted Thursday night, with the most recent vote totals being released Monday and Tuesday. The final results will come out on Sunday, and some of the results will certainly be different than the most recent vote tallies.

However, the latest vote tallies are a great indicator of whom will get the All-Star nod, who will be snubbed and who doesn't belong on the list at all.

Let's take a look at the last-known vote totals for the AL and NL and see what jumps out, with the AL in this article and the NL up next...

In the AL, Mark Teixeira is somehow second in first base voting with 1.86 million votes. Justin Morneau leads with 2.1 million, so the chance is there for Tex to pull it out. However, he has gotten 2010 off to a very slow start and the two players behind Teixeira have had much, much better seasons: Miguel Cabrera and Kevin Youkilis. Simply put: Tex's .234/.345/.413 line prior to Friday play does not even sniff Morneau, Cabrera or Youkilis and he shouldn't be named to the team, let alone start.

Robinson Cano, Evan Longoria and Joe Mauer lead 3B, 2B and C candidates, respectively, by a wide margin -- no complaints there. (But what's with Adrian Beltre fourth with just over 600,000 votes?) Shortstop has Derek Jeter leading Elvis Andrus (pictured) by almost two million votes. Jeter is certainly a deserving All-Star especially with a weak shortstop crop, but Andrus should have gotten more respect.

Jeter: .283/.343/.410, 8 stolen bases, 3 caught stealing, 361 plate appearances, 51 runs, 39 RBI, -1.7 UZR/150 , 2 +/-
Andrus: .292/.374/.332, 22 SB, 9 CS, 344 PA, 55 R, 24 RBI, 5.7 UZR/150, 8 +/-

To recap: Andrus kills Jeter on defense and stolen bases. Their batting averages are similar, but Andrus gets on base a lot more. Jeter has more pop, but is that really enough to beat out Andrus?

The DH has Vladimir Guerrero over a million ahead of second-place DH Hideki Matsui. Vlad leading the DH candidates isn't a shocker, as he's been on fire all year long and deserves the nod. But Matsui over David Ortiz, who hasn't even cracked a million votes? Ortiz has been one of the better power hitters in the game since putting his terrible slump to bed. Blame the Red Sox fans for not coming out in force for this one.

In the outfield, it's tight with Ichiro Suzuki and Josh Hamilton each with 1.9 million votes, but Carl Crawford and Nelson Cruz are nipping on their heels. Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner -- the entire Yankees outfield mind you -- follow in the 5-6-7 spots. Granderson shouldn't even be in the top 10 and Gardner is a reach, but they are there because they play for the Yankees. Torii Hunter, Magglio Ordonez and B.J. Upton round out the top 10 with Vernon Wells a curious 11. And somehow, Alex Rios isn't even in the top 15 despite being one of the best all-around outfielders in the league. The same goes for Shin Soo-Choo.

My personal ballot would mark off Choo, Wells and Suzuki as the starters with Nick Markakis representing the Orioles. I could easily be talked out of Markakis -- he's simply on my ballot as the Orioles representative. But to not have Choo, Wells and Rios at or near the top of the voting leaderboard confirms that this is all just a popularity test. But you already knew that.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 28, 2010 3:28 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2010 4:58 pm

Mauer winning baseball's popularity contest

Joe Mauer In the final American League All-Star Game voting updates before Sunday's announcement of teams, Justin Morneau and Carl Crawford are hanging on for their spots in the homecoming court, while Joe Mauer continues to be the prettiest girl in the school, but is still like totally down-to-earth and cool, you know?

The chess club still has until Thursday to find a way to hack intuit he online voting system and make Yuniesky Betancourt the queen, but then when the Royals shortstop shows up to the dance, he'll take off his glasses, shake out his hair and everyone will discover the beautiful swan he was underneath a career 82 OPS+.

Anyway, Mark Teixeira is making a run at Morneau at first base, with Miguel Cabrera tight on his heels. Robinson Cano seems to have second locked up, as do Evan Longoria and Derek Jeter at third base and shortstop, respectively. Mauer is pounding Jorge Posada at catcher and Vladimir Guerrero has a comfortable lead at DH over Hideki Matsui. Really.

Ichiro Suzuki, Josh Hamilton and Crawford are the top three vote-getters in the outfield, as Crawford jumped in front of the Rangers Nelson Cruz in voting, despite his sore shoulder, for the final outfield spot.

Complete -- or at least a semi-complete -- leaderboard for the July 13 game in Anaheim is up at MLB.com .

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 20, 2010 2:47 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2010 3:17 pm

Which Wilson for Mariners?

Jack Wilson This much we know: On most days, "Wilson SS" will be written on the Mariners' lineup card.

The question is, which Wilson?

According to the Seattle Times , Jack Wilson will be activated from the disabled list Sunday, apparently sufficiently recovered from a hamstring problem that has limited him to 26 games this season. Playing in his place while he was gone: Josh Wilson.

It's an unwritten sports rule, or at least a common practice, that a starting player can't lose his spot just because of an injury. Josh Wilson, however, has made himself awfully difficult to take out of the lineup. He's batting .288, the highest among Mariners regulars with the exception of Ichiro Suzuki.

The Mariners are, to put it mildly, offense-challenged. They've scored the second-fewest runs in the American League and have a miserable, league-worst OPS of .660. So how do you shelve one of your few productive hitters? The Mariners are already backed up at DH with Mike Sweeney and, when he's not in the field, Milton Bradley

Jack Wilson (pictured), acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh last July, is a defensive specialist and an average hitter for a shortstop, though he has underperformed at the plate since arriving in Seattle (.236). He does, however, have a two-year, $10 million contract, so sitting him regularly would be tough.

Manager Don Wakamatsu said on June 9 that Josh Wilson would keep the job when Jack Wilson returned, with Jack being worked in "when we see the need for it." Today he said both will get time at shortstop, depending on matchups, and Josh Wilson will get some additional time as a utility player. Should be an interesting juggling act for Wakamatsu.

Matt Tuiasosopo is being sent to Triple-A Tacoma to make room for Jack Wilson's return to the active roster.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com