Tag Archives: Ichiro

Nixing E5

Watching the Jays lose last night, I came to a realization. It’s probably not what you’d expect from someone watching a game like that. I didn’t realize that OHMYGODTHEBULLPENSUCKSWHAAAA or anything else alarmist that seems, based on my #Jays and #BlueJays searches on Twitter*, to be the common theme today.

(*And if you’re the sort who uses hashtags, I suggest you stick to #BlueJays, lest you get lost in all the chatter about Air Jordans.)

Bullpens are going to lose games, teams are going to blow big leads. It sucks, but it’s a 162-game season. These things happen and I can basically guarantee the Jays will be on the opposite end of games like this before the season comes to an end.

When Toronto bought Jayson Nix just before the season began, I wasn’t really moved in either direction. “It’s a depth move,” I thought. “Nix is just a warm body to provide some protection in case of injury/whatever.”

I don’t think I was wrong to think those things, but…

Nix has played pretty well so far this season. Small samples sizes to be sure, but his OPS is at 1.058 right now. According to Fangraphs, he’s amassed 0.4 WAR through just 8 games. Doesn’t seem like much, but extrapolate it over a whole season and he’s putting up goddamn superstar WAR numbers at that rate.

Now, obviously, Nix is incredibly unlikely to keep playing at this level throughout a whole season. And that’s why I’ve been skeptical of the amount of playing time he’s received so far.

But then it happened.

Leading off the bottom of the third inning, Ichiro (!) hit a weak grounder to third. Ichiro (!) specializes in turning hits like these into, well, hits.

Nix those, fielded the ball cleanly, turned and fired a bullet to first, beating Ichiro (!) to the bag.

It was a nice defensive play and the chances Edwin (E5) Encarnacion makes that throw cleanly are slim to none. Nix made it look easy.

And that’s when I realized that I’m more than happy to see Nix man third every day until he proves he can’t.

With Nix fielding and hitting well, E5 not fielding well and Juan Rivera playing like a turd, it seems pretty clear to me what needs to happen: Nix plays third, E5 DH’s and Rivera rides the pine.

I understand the argument that Rivera needs to play so he can raise his value and become possible trade bait. But just because I understand it, doesn’t mean I like it. I’d much rather see the Jays use a better lineup than handicap their chances at a win in the hopes that maybe someday somebody will take their unwanted player.

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50, 200, 0

Man, how awesome is Jose Bautista?

And that Ichiro? Frig, I wish he was a Jay.

I’m checking out for the rest of the home games. Today was my final time watching a Cito-managed team at the Dome. Even with everything he’s done wrong, he’s a hard man to hate and I’m glad a game like today’s was the last I saw him manage — live and in person, anyway.

Enjoy the rest of the season. I’ll be back to my regularly irregular posting in a week and a half or so.

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I choose Ichiro

Let’s say you’re building a baseball team from scratch. You can take any player in the game today, but you’re getting them as a rookie and you know what they’ll become, what position player do you go after first?

I asked this question of a friend of mine a few years back and his answer, without hesitation, was Albert Pujols. An understandable and very defensible choice to be sure, but we still managed to get in an argumuent about it.

How could I argue against Pujols? The answer is simple: I choose Ichiro.

Ichiro

I love the fact that despite having an incredibly awkward looking swing, he’s the best hitter in the game.

I love how fast he is.

I love how he’s running before he even finishes swinging.

I love his defence.

I love how rattled pitchers get when he’s standing on first.

I love that he can make all-stars actually care about the all-star game just by swearing at them.

I love that his awesome sense of humour can lead reporters to think he’s insane:

Before facing off against Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka in April, Ichiro said, “I hope he arouses the fire that’s dormant in the innermost recesses of my soul. I plan to face him with the zeal of a challenger.” Asked recently about a road trip to Cleveland, he admitted: “To tell the truth, I’m not excited to go to Cleveland, but we have to. If I ever saw myself saying I’m excited going to Cleveland, I’d punch myself in the face, because I’m lying.” And about Tiger Woods, he said, “Tiger is a great golfer, but … when you say athlete, I think of Carl Lewis. When you talk about [golfers or race-car drivers], I don’t want to see them run. It’s the same if you were to meet a beautiful girl and go bowling. If she’s an ugly bowler, you are going to be disappointed.” Is Ichiro going crazy?

I love the fact that Ichiro is so good at what he does that when he looks bad, like he did on the second pitch from Scott Downs last night, people assume he made himself look bad on purpose to make Downs throw the pitch again.

And yeah, that’s what’s inspired this post: Ichiro’s walk-off single last night against the Jays.

I know this is primarily a Jays blog and I should be foaming about Downs’ new-found suckness, but sometimes you’ve just got to tip your hat to the opposition and accept that you were beaten by the best. No, the Mariners are not the best, but Ichiro is.

Just take a look at the pitch he hit to win the game:

Ichiro's walk-off

From the fine folks at brooksbaseball.net

The jays are right when they say that Downs made a good pitch. He did. But Ichiro made an even better swing, so my hat’s off to you, Ichiro.

In my dreams, you wear a Jays uniform.

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