Jun 10, 2011, 12:59 PM | Updated: 1:10 pm
As I said on the Brock and Salk show earlier this morning, Ichiro is indeed sitting down tonight. Chone Figgins will lead off.
Ichiro’s streak of 255 consecutive starts, second best in baseball, comes to an end as he gets a break from the struggles which have been plaguing him at the plate for the majority of the season.
We have yet to hear from Eric Wedge about the matter and I doubt we will hear from Ichiro himself. Ichiro, who throughout his career has been very good about speaking to the media when requested, stopped talking to the Japanese media six days ago. I am told that the scrutiny of his recent performance from the press in Japan has been extreme and critical in recent weeks.
Ichiro has shown no outward signs of stress through this and was even laughing after batting practice yesterday. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t been feeling the pressure however. How could he not after watching his batting average plummet 65 points over the last month and a half and his OPS take an even bigger dive? Although he still leads the team in hits he is on pace for just 170 this year.
There is great debate over whether or not he has lost a step or bat speed. He is opening up more at the plate, which would be an adjustment he would make if he indeed felt his bat was slow. In talking to those around him some believe pitch recognition has been an issue, others his timing. Again, Ichiro may have tried to make an adjustment with his timing as he has appeared in the past few days to take a higher step before his swing.
I will have more after I have the opportunity to talk to Wedge or Ichiro.