Ichiro Suzuki became the first player in Major League history to have 200 or more hits per season for 10 years in a row. Ichiro has accomplished this great achievement while playing for a Seattle Mariners team that has not reached the play-offs since Ichiro’s first year in 2001. However day after day, year after year Ichiro has gone out and contributed in a way that may never be repeated. This day belongs to Ichiro who picked-up hit #200 in the fifth inning of a game that meant little outside of the individual accomplishments by Ichiro, Jose Bautista and Felix Hernandez in the 1-0 victory by the Blue Jays.
Jose Bautista is another nice story as he suddenly emerged on the scene after several years of mediocrity to becoming the Major league home run leader, and today in the first inning he connected for home run #50 in front of another small but lively crowd in Toronto. Great job Jose!
Oh yes there was another great player on the field today…..Felix Hernandez who happens to be in a race of his own, ie the race for the Cy-Young award. Felix once again pitched well enough to win, going 8 innings and only giving-up 1 run on a couple of hits including the homer by Bautista. Unfortunately for Felix the rest of the Mariners don’t hit like Ichiro and one more time they let the King down as his record now falls to 12-12.
On the positive side a game like this one should make it even clearer that Felix is the best pitcher in the AL, he just does not have a supporting cast outside of Ichiro. Sure we have a whole bunch of guys that did great in Tacoma, and yes I know they will all get a chance to prove they have what it takes to earn a spot after playing well in AAA. But if today was any indication of what next year is going to look like, count me out for spring training.
Somehow I seem to remember that guys only came up from AAA after it was clear they were ready for Major League pitching. Outside of maybe Mangini who had a nice line drive single in the 9th, our youngsters looked lost at the plate today. But hey, they are cheap and the experiment this year of bringing in several semi-good veterans didn’t seem to work either. Still would love to find a guy like Bautista out there who has a few seasons under his belt and has figured out what works at this level. But that’s what they pay the GM for.
One more time congratulations to Ichiro on his big day as well as Jose Bautista and Felix Hernandez for their great seasons thus far as well.http://jeffsmariners.com