Here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday a bit more bearable:
Ichiro’s contact and batted ball stats further the notion that his BABIP hasn’t been subject to bad luck. Keeping in mind that contact rate and line drive rate stabilize at 100 and 150 plate appearances respectively, there are legitimate reasons to be concerned about Ichiro going forward. Remember, he’s had 145 plate appearances, so we can rely on his contact rate and just about trust his line drive rate thus far. Compared to last season, Ichiro is putting the bat on the ball 5.4% less often, while 3.6% below his lifetime percentage*. His line drive rate, while not officially stable yet but pretty close, stands 9.2% less than last year and 5% worse than his stateside career*. These discrepancies tell a clear story of a guy not being able to put good wood on the ball, a classic indication of age overcoming a once great hitter.
Gerardo Parra hit the very first pitch of the game from the Marlins’ Tom Koehler, a 94 mph fastball that was up and over the inside half of the plate, into the Marlins’ bullpen for a leadoff home run. Another 234 pitches were thrown in the game by both teams over sixty-one plate appearances, but Parra’s home run was the only run-scoring play of the game.
According to Elias, the last time that happened — the only run of a game was scored on the first pitch — was nearly 50 years ago. It was September 2, 1963, when Reds’ rookie second baseman Pete Rose homered off the Mets’ Jay Hook to start the second game of a double-header at the Polo Grounds. Hook and the Reds’ Jim Maloney then proceeded to match zeroes for nine innings as the Reds won 1-0.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!