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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.

August 3, 2012 at 12:07 PM

More on Ichiro and the Mariners’ surge

Yesterday, I put forward my thoughts on Ichiro’s role in the Mariners’ post-trade surge.

Today, I thought I’d look at some of the numbers surrounding that surge that relate to Ichiro’s departure. Turns out that in the 10 games since Ichiro was traded (the M’s are 8-2 in those games, both losses coming to Ichiro’s Yankees), Seattle’s right fielders are hitting .114 (3-for-15 for Casper Wells, 1-for-20 for Carlos Peguero, with 12 strikeouts). Combined, they have had one extra-base-hit (a double), one walk, three RBIs and 15 strikeouts.

So while theoretically, Ichiro’s departure has opened up a door for a young player to emerge, so far it hasn’t happened. Ichiro himself was out-performing his replacements.

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Let’s look next at Seattle’s No. 2 hitters since the departure of Ichiro, who was holding down that spot in the order when he was dealt. They are 11-for-41 (.268) with one HR, four RBIs, one walk and 10 strikeouts — pretty much on par with what Ichiro was producing.

Next, I looked at the team as a whole since Ichiro was traded. They went 82-for-314, a .261 average, in the 10 games, scoring 44 runs, with 17 doubles, six homers and 40 RBIs. They had a slash line of .261/322/.373. Not overwhelming, but considering the Mariners had been averaging under .200 at home up until that point,and scoring less than three runs per game, it’s a fairly dramatic upgrade.

Then again, they were already trending upward. On the 5-2 road trip that proceeded the homestand, and the trade — with Ichiro still on the team — the Mariners hit .255/.309/.438, scoring 38 runs in the seve games (5.4 per game), again an improvement (slight) on their road showing up to that point.

One thing to consider is that the Mariners on this last homestand had a 2.70 ERA while holding opponents to a .214 average. Don’t under-rate pitching as a major factor in their winning streak.

My takeaway conclusion is the same as yesterday’s: Ichiro’s departure helps the team in the big picture, but I don’t think it’s why they’re surging in the here and now. They were headed in that direction anyway.

Still, I recognize that this a hot-button issue, and that people will, in the immortal words of Paul Simon, hear what they want to hear and disregard the rest.

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