Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Posted by el duque at 8:28 AM
That's OK. He's batting ninth. Three days ago, Ichiro drew his first base on balls as a Yankee. Frankly, that's more distressing, because I think we all hoped he would adopt a new grinder mentality - take more pitches and get on base. It seems at times that he seeks a walk, but on that 3-ball count, he slaps the inevitable grounder.
Last night, Ichiro did some little things that helped win the game. He laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt in the critical third inning, when Ryan Dempster fell apart. (And every Yankee fan in creation silently said, "Ahh, Texas, you traded prospects for an unhittable NL pitcher, thinking you just wrapped up the pennant; we know exactly how you feel.") He hit a triple in the right-center gap and seemed to fly around the bases. But he screwed up a fly ball to deep right, which I thought he would catch. (It wasn't an error, but it seemed catchable - especially for one of the great fielders of our era.)
In 19 games, Ichiro has scored only four runs for us. That's sort of scary, because even though he's batting ninth, we have all our firepower coming up if can get on base. That bump we longed for hasn't yet appeareth unto us.
Last night, another old guy who seemed to be on the way out came through for us. Derek Lowe pitched his best game in at least a month. Lowe went through an identity crisis after being released by Cleveland. He went to Florida and reassessed his entire game. He tinkered. He adapted to the new reality. Last night, it sure worked.
We all assumed that Ichiro was depressed and playing below form in Seattle. Well, now we know: He wasn't holding back. He was playing as hard as he could, even if for a team that was out of it. Now, he's doing the same for us. But it doesn't look like we'll ever see that .340 Ichiro Suzuki. That guy is gone... unless a certain old outfielder takes a page from Derek Lowe, his newest new teammate, and decides it's time to adapt.