Saturday, April 2, 2011

Ichiro's Odd Inning

The Mariners kicked off the 2011 season on the right foot yesterday, defeating the A's 6-2.  While you can't take away much from game 1 of 162, it was nice to see Smoak rip a double, Figgins and Olivo looked great at the plate and Mr. OBP, Jack Cust, walked three times.  The superstars delivered as well, with Felix going all nine innings and Ichiro adding a pair of stolen bases to his two hits and a walk. 

One of the more interesting innings was the top of the 6th.  It featured two odd decisions from Ichiro.  Here's a link to the official play-by-play.  At first glance it looks pretty straight forward:
-Walk by Brendan Ryan
-Sac bunt by Jack Wilson
-Ichiro single to left field, scoring Ryan
-Figgins HR to left
-Bradley K looking

A great job of small ball by Ryan and Wilson put Ryan on second base with only one out.  Ichrio stepped to the plate and did something nobody expected.  He tried to bunt down the third base line.  Luckily it went foul.  But it's hard to imagine what he was thinking at that moment.  A base hit gets in a run.  Best case scenario a perfect bunt puts runners on the corners.  Ichiro needs to be a run producer in this lineup.  He did just that on the next pitch, slapping a Breslow pitch into left field, scoring Ryan on a close play at the plate.

With Figgins at the dish, and two stolen bases under his belt already, Ichiro looked unsure of himself at first base with the lefty Breslow on the hill.  He repeatedly guessed wrong and took his lead back to first base when Breslow was actually going to the plate.  I thought to myself, "well, he has to stay put here because otherwise he's just guessing."  He didn't and was picked off trying to steal.  Don't get me wrong, I want Ichiro to run wild this year.  I'd love to see 40+ stolen bases.  But when you can't read a pitcher's move to first base and your SB attempt is reduced to pure guesswork, it might be wise to stay put and see what Figgins can do at the plate unless he is facing a full count. 

The good news is that Figgins hit a rocket into the left field stands, Felix was great and the rest is history.  It may be VERY early, but 1-0 still feels pretty good. 

1 comment:

Geno said...

I was saying the exact thing to my wife right after he tried for the steel. The other thing is, who would have guessed tha Figgins would put one place on the otherside of the wall, we would have a two run lead lead going into the seventh. If that was so, I wonder how the managers on both sides would have approached the final three innings?