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Amid career-worst slump, Ichiro Suzuki dropped in order

Jul 7, 2012, 8:14 PM EDT

Ichiro Suzuki Getty Images

One spot anyway.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge idea of a shakeup is really more of a gentle rattle. He has Dustin Ackley leading off and Ichiro Suzuki batting second in Saturday’s lineup.

Ichiro went hitless in a fifth straight game Friday, tying the longest streak of his career. He previously went hitless in five straight in 2006.

Overall, Ichiro is hitting .258/.286/.351 in 345 at-bats. Only J.J. Hardy has made more outs this season. He’s been particularly dreadful against left-handers, hitting .233/.235/.264 in 129 at-bats, so the Mariners’ should be seriously considering making him a platoon player, at least until he starts hitting.

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jul 7, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    Cut him.

  2. randygnyc - Jul 7, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    Until he starts hitting? Ichiro is nearly done hitting. It doesn’t get better when there is no bat speed. It’s not like he’ll be any younger tomorrow.

  3. jayquintana - Jul 7, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    It’s hard not to think that he’s done. Age catches up to everybody — the possible exception being Catherine Deneuve.

  4. stairwayto7 - Jul 7, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Ichiro to Pirates for Tabata!

    • dan1111 - Jul 8, 2012 at 3:58 AM

      Dave Littlefield is no longer GM of the Pirates. Which is why they haven’t already made this trade, throwing in McCutchen as a spare part.

  5. ptfu - Jul 7, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    Looking at Ichiro’s numbers, it’s the groundball % and flyball % that jump out. Grounders are way down and fly balls are way up, which is deadly for someone with Ichiro’s game.

    If he can somehow repair that ratio, he might yet do okay. Most of Ichiro’s other peripheral stats are in line with his career numbers. Walk rate is down a bit, but Ichiro never walked much anyway. Strikeouts are in line, his line drive % is actually high, and his ISO is up too. It’s not that he can’t drive the ball, or that he can’t make contact at all, or that he chases bad pitches, it’s that too many at bats end with the ball in the air instead of on the ground.

    • dan1111 - Jul 8, 2012 at 4:11 AM

      He would also be ok if he repaired his ratio of not getting hits to getting hits.

      Sorry to be snarky, but he has now hit poorly for a season and a half. Last year he was bad despite having a career-high GB/FB ratio. I agree with randy that the high flyball rate, if it shows anything, is probably a symptom rather than a cause of his poor performance.

      I would really like Ichiro to rebound, but I have to agree with those who think he is done. If so, it is the end of an era. There has never been and probably never will be another player like him.

  6. randygnyc - Jul 7, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    Ptfu- that’s a sign of his hands dropping and his slower bat speed doesn’t allow him to “get on top of the ball”. Fly balls are death to Ichiro’s game.

  7. dirtyharry1971 - Jul 8, 2012 at 1:21 AM

    this guy has always been way way overrated and now he isnt even rated period. I hope seattle is dumb enough to resign him for 20MIL a year again

    • danindelray - Jul 8, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      “way way overrated”?

      Be sure to let the HoF know, because that’s his next stop. Or better yet you could remove your head from your ass.

      • genericcommenter - Jul 8, 2012 at 4:12 PM

        Being overrated and a Hall of Famer are not mutually exclusive. I think he’s a HOFer, too. However, I would say Ichiro was a guy who always made a lot of outs. He had a lot of hits, yes- record-setting hits figures. Part of that is from being a great contact hitter with speed, part of it from not taking many walks and being a lead-off hitter. He led the league in plate appearances and at-bats more than he led in hits. He always came up to the plate most, took the most swings, had great contact and speed. Great. He also has a career OPS of under .800 and 113 OPS+. Singles hitter, not even a doubles or triples type hitter. Anemic number of extra base hits. Usually the speedy contact types at least hit doubles and stretch out some triples. Dude barely cracked 20 doubles most of his seasons. Also didn’t score that many runs in proportion to his times on base and times in scoring position. Getting on base 260 times and stealing 45 bases, but scoring 77 runs. Though I think I have to give him a pretty big pass on that due to his team’s complete suckage behind him.

        Career .366 OBP is pretty low for such a high average hitter. If he’s not hitting .350 he doesn’t get on base. And now he’s a .250 hitter. look at his similar batters and hitters- no HOFers, and quite a few similar players who will not make the HOF and might not make it past first ballot.
        He’s a HOFer to me- probably the greatest singles hitter of all-time. Also one of the biggest outs-makers of all-time.

  8. denny65 - Jul 8, 2012 at 3:34 AM

    Please note, after Wedge’s lineup “shakeup” tonight, Mr. Suzuki went 2-for-5. Also, he stands at 91 hits on the the season, 30th in the majors and far and away ahead of any other Mariner.

    • dan1111 - Jul 8, 2012 at 4:16 AM

      I think it is pretty awesome that his longest hitless streak in a 12-year career is five games.

      As much as I like Ichiro, though, as a singles hitter who doesn’t walk much, he needs to pretty much lead the league in hits to be valuable. In fact, he had two seasons in which he led the league in hits but was barely above average according to OPS+.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Jul 8, 2012 at 11:34 AM

      tonight doesnt change anything, look at his on base % for starters. How can they even think about batting this guy leadoff? Why isnt he batting 9th? Look at his slg%? He has the weakest hitting line in baseball period and he’s carrying that while playing right field yet!! 20 mil for that? Yikes!!

  9. henryd3rd - Jul 8, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    Father Time is still undefeated.

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