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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

September 20, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Ichiro would have to replicate hottest stretch of career to reach 200

Note: I’ll be doing a live chat today at noon with the good folks at SodoMojo.com, if you want to check it out.

It’s looking increasingly like Ichiro will fail to reach 200 hits for the first time in his 11-year Mariners career, adding to a string of unwelcome firsts — first season under .300, first season not on the All-Star team, and, most likely, first season without a Gold Glove award.

After getting two hits Monday in the makeup game in Cleveland — one of Ichiro’s favorite road destinations, as we all know — he now sits at 175 hits. The math is simple: Nine games to get 25 hits, or 2.77 per game.That’s a heap of hitting, but for Ichiro, not unprecedented.

With the help of Baseball Reference.com and streaks guru Trent McCotter (whom you should follow on twitter at @trentmccotter), I discovered that Ichiro’s top hit production over any nine-game span in his career is…drum roll… 25.

But he’s done that just once, in the midst of the season in which he broke George Sisler’s longstanding major-league record for most hits in a season. Ichiro wound up with 262 that year, while hitting a career-high .372. From July 25 through Aug. 5, he was on absolute fire, putting up the following numbers over those nine games:

July 25: 1-for-4 vs. Anaheim

July 26: 3-for-5 vs. Oakland

July 27: 2-for-5 vs. Oakland

July 28: 3-for-4 vs. Oakland

July 29: 5-for-7 vs. Anaheim

July 30: 1-for-4 vs. Anaheim

July 31: 3-for-6 vs. Anaheim

Aug. 1: 2-for-5 vs. Anaheim

Aug. 3: 5-for-5 vs. Baltimore (first game doubleheader)

Totals: 25-for-45 (.556).

Can Ichiro replicate that pace over the next nine games — three at Minnesota, three at Texas, three at home against Oakland? Nothing that’s happened this year would lead one to think so. But with Ichiro, you just never know.

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