Chone Figgins is starting to look like the guy the Mariners envisioned when they signed him to that four-year, $36 million contract.
But when I mentioned to him after the game that he was on fire, he replied, “On fire is if you’re getting a hit every single time. I’m not getting a hit every single time, so that’s not on fire.”
OK, he’s not on fire. But Figgins is hitting .481 (13-for-27) during a seven-game hitting streak, .522 (12-for-23) on the homestand, and .407 (24-for-59) since the dugout incident with manager Don Wakamatsu.
He, along with Ichiro, was in the middle of just about everything positive that happened for the Mariners today in their 3-2 win over Kansas City. Figgins had two singles, a walk, a stolen base, scored a run and drove in a run. Ichiro had two singles and scored the other two runs.
Perhaps most impressive was the way Ichiro and Figgins worked in synch. When Ichiro took off in the sixth, Figgins hit the ball to the spot vacated by the shortstop as he moved over to cover. And in the eighth, Ichiro got to second and again took off, and again Figgins delivered, an RBI single to provide what would be a vital insurance run.
“We are the table setters,” Figgins said. “The more we get on base, the more it makes it tough on the opposition. It puts those guys in better situations to hit in because pitchers have to throw them strikes because we have the opportunity to steal bases.
Of his surge, which has raised his average to .254, Figgins said, “For two months to start the season, I wasn’t attacking the baseball. Over the last couple of months, I’ve been attacking the baseball and getting on top of it more, and hitting line drives and hard ground balls. That’s my game.”
Figgins, trying to salvage what has been a highly disappointing season, said his rapport with Ichiro continues to grow.
“It’s like we talked about early in season, and spring training. It’s knowing situations, knowing pitchers. And the more he’s out there and the more I’m at the plate, the more we figure each other out. He’s on base a lot. It’s just the fact of knowing the pitchers, and the guys he can run on and he can’t.”
Since these two guys will be atop the order in the foreseeable future, barring a trade, it’s an encouraging development.