A brief thought on Ichiro pitching

DMZ · July 6, 2008 at 11:05 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Jose Canseco’s Typhoid Mary impression did amazing damage to baseball’s reputation, but I don’t at all doubt there would have been another. What I particularly blame him for, tonight, is the reluctance to let position players pitch. It used to happen all the time — actually, if you watch minor league box scores, it happens more often than you might guess — and Canseco blowing out his arm was so big that it made everyone more reluctant to let their position guys pitch for fear of the same criticism Kevin Kennedy endured.

But to my point — Ichiro, and probably any number of Mariners, can pitch. Not well, but they can, to varying degrees. Ichiro, if nothing else, could certainly throw smoke up there. But he can’t, because everyone’s too scared that a valuable player will hurt themselves, despite all the evidence that they can pull it off… because Jose Canseco blew out his arm in 1993. So only back-roster guys get asked to take the mound, and if you’re lucky, you get Brent Mayne 2000*.

I don’t know if Ichiro would have done any better. And yes, he might have blown his elbow out. But we have tons on tons of evidence that he’d have been fine, and it would have been absolutely freaking awesome to see. And it might have helped.

One more reason to hate Canseco.

* Brent Mayne rules woooooo!!

Comments

33 Responses to “A brief thought on Ichiro pitching”

  1. Pestilence on July 6th, 2008 11:14 pm

    I always love it when position guys get a chance to pitch. It’s a great way of turning what is typically a horrible game into something memorable. My favorite game like that was probably the one where Mark Grace pitched and imitated Mike Fetters. I think I watched four showings of Sportscenter that night to keep watching the clip.

  2. olerud89 on July 6th, 2008 11:24 pm

    I also find it a bit odd that Riggleman chose Burke after getting hit in the right hand a couple days ago. Yeah, it didn’t injure him but there must have still been some soreness there. Still awesome to see (though Ichiro would have been cooler).

  3. bratman on July 6th, 2008 11:33 pm

    Boy I really wanted Ichiro to get the ball tonight. I really thought Ichiro wanted to pitch.

  4. msb on July 6th, 2008 11:45 pm

    “”I said I wanted to. I asked,” Suzuki added.”

  5. BobbyRoberto on July 6th, 2008 11:53 pm

    When Olerud was here, I used to hope he’d get a chance to pitch again. It may have been to risky for him, though, with the chance of a line drive up the middle.

  6. BobbyRoberto on July 6th, 2008 11:54 pm

    Dang! Typo. I meant “too” risky, of course.

  7. Vlad on July 7th, 2008 12:22 am

    I didnt watch the gaem last night so i might be wrong but the AL team carrying 12 pitchers on the roster used only six of them last night. Exclude previous and next day´s starter and Bedard and still there are three others left. I would put either Silva or Dickey (knuckleballers dont get teared that much). But what I dont understand the most is the fact that a home menager uses his pitchers in extra innings games for such a short period of time. When the bottom half of the frame is over and you didnt win it, you know there is a chance you would have to go there probably more than just one more time. Batista threw 19 (32 the previous day, ok), Green 20 (36 two days before), they should do more.
    But that leads me to another thing. Starting pitchers should do more than they are doing now, especially that “ace” of ours, Bedard and his last start is a prove. He pitched five innings (99 pitches) in a game where he was in control, yelding just five hits, and still leaving after five, puttting more load on the bullpen. What is it? Lack of conditioning? Pussy ace status, so he can leave when he wants to? I was once told that the only chance how you strenghten your pitcher is to let him pitch more and run more.

  8. Adam S on July 7th, 2008 12:40 am

    From the game story at MLB.com

    It didn’t help that Brandon Morrow (four appearances in five days) and Arthur Rhodes (slept funny on his arm) weren’t available, and when Cesar Jimenez reached his limit after four innings of hitless relief, Riggleman had to get a little creative.

    “I had a couple guys come to me and say, ‘Hey, skip, I can pitch,’” Riggleman said. “A couple position players — Bloomquist, [third baseman Adrian] Beltre. But [R.A.] Dickey threw 100-and-plus pitches yesterday and he said, ‘Let me see if I can get loose.’

    Not sure if Dickey actually tried to get loose, but it sounds like position players might have been the only option. Really I like the choice. The starting rotation is already a mess. You might screw up one game but not using Dickey/Silva/Morrow here, but you could screw up several games by using them.

    As for Ichiro pitching, Riggleman obviously doesn’t care what anyone thinks; this is a guy starting a cleanup hitter who should be released. Maybe he was the option for the 17th inning.

  9. scott19 on July 7th, 2008 12:52 am

    If not Ichiro, it might have entertaining to watch Willie pitch an inning or so as well.

  10. Sentinel on July 7th, 2008 1:20 am

    If not Ichiro, it might have entertaining to watch Willie pitch an inning or so as well.

    That would have been one gritty inning of relief.

  11. hoser on July 7th, 2008 1:31 am

    But what if Willie had given up a double or a home run? Would that have ruined his run at the days w/out an XBH record?

  12. Steve Nelson on July 7th, 2008 1:44 am

    I thought it was common practice to use the next day’s starter as the emergency pitcher if the games goes into extra innings. I remember that happened with Moyer several years ago when Melvin was still managing the Mariners.

    As I recall, at the MLB level position players have been used as pitchers mostly in blowout games when the team wanted to give all remaining players some additional rest.

    ****

    I have often wondered, though, why teams don’t more often use the starter out of the bullpen on his throw day between starts. You can give him the same number of pitches he would ordinarily throw, just have him get the throws in a game instead of in the bullpen.

  13. Richie sux on July 7th, 2008 1:46 am

    Why the hell are you bashing Willie’s pitching ability when you have never seen him throw a pitch?

    You always make fun of Willie because he hits singles. Personally, I would rather see him up there then most of our players. At least he gets on base some of the time..

  14. batura on July 7th, 2008 1:50 am

    They’ve intentionally allowed Batista to relieve on his throw day before, but the problem is that they typically throw before the game, so there’s no need to stretch their arm out by the time the game situation rolls around.

  15. mln on July 7th, 2008 2:07 am

    re: 11

    Willie’s inexorable march toward baseball history will not be denied.

    Willie dares go where most baseball mortals fear even to tread….

  16. Breadbaker on July 7th, 2008 2:50 am

    Of course the real mistake here is Pelakoudas’s. How do you put a starter on the DL, and not call up a starter from the minors, particularly when Batista and Bedard both are essentially injured and can’t go long, and with Dickey in the rotation you don’t have a real long man in the bullpen (long man in the sense of “can go seven if the starter is knocked out or injured in the first”)? Today’s game was the perfect storm, because it went 15 innings on the day when the “starter by committee” was pitching, but what if the Tigers had tied yesterday’s game and it went deep into extra innings? Maybe you send Jimenez down and call up someone from Tacoma, but that doesn’t work so well when Tacoma is playing in Nashville instead of Portland, or if the M’s are in Tampa and Tacoma is playing in Fresno. I don’t care if the guy pitches like Feierabend pitched last year (it might have been Feierabend); so you lose one game, big deal, but you at least have a bullpen tomorrow. What happens tomorrow when Washburn develops a blister in the second, or takes a line drive off his knee? It’s the GM’s job to give the manager a chance to win any game. I don’t think Pelakoudas is giving Riggleman a chance to win without five actual healthy starters.

  17. Vlad on July 7th, 2008 3:33 am

    15 – do you think Riggleman is pushing enough to GM on that one?

    I still think he didn´t use his pitchers wisely last night

  18. Rumpelstiltskin on July 7th, 2008 3:39 am

    I’m still baffled.

    Probably the most idiotic managerial decision I’ve seen in over a decade (and I’ve sat through the Grover and Mac eras), yet half the fan base thinks it’s cool that Riggles just gave a game away cuz that thought it was funny to watch a backup, journeyman, AAAA catcher throw an 80 mph fastball to the plate.

    Do these same people think it’s cool when he intentionally walks a guy with a 1 run lead, 1 out and a runner on 2nd? Next, he’ll be sac bunting with a runner on 2nd and 1 out… got the job done… lol… LMAO… I’m out.

  19. Paul B on July 7th, 2008 6:35 am

    I still maintain, (Derek laid out the reason in his entry) that there is no manager in the Majors who would have let Ichiro pitch. I don’t think we can blame Riggleman for a decision like that.

    Besides, there is so many things we can blame him for…

    I still think he didn´t use his pitchers wisely last night

    This was one point I have made in the past. McLaren did this a lot — using a whole bunch of relief pitchers and limiting each one to no more than an inning. I’m puzzled as to the reason for this — maybe it leaves more options open for the next game? — but it has a very real downside which we see in every extra inning game.

  20. Vlad on July 7th, 2008 6:59 am

    That is my point, it should not get to the point where you look to your bullpen and have no option, especially in AL, with half a dozen pitchers not pitching that day. With the season going the way it is the manager should give us other reason to watch than back up catcher on the mound in a tie game in the 15th at home.

  21. Vlad on July 7th, 2008 7:16 am

    I wouldnt put Ichiro on the mound, I would let him pitch from the CF as he did in one commercial couple of seasons ago :-)

  22. msb on July 7th, 2008 7:34 am

    ot sure if Dickey actually tried to get loose

    he went out to the bullpen.

  23. Paul B on July 7th, 2008 7:42 am

    And the hacktastic nature of the M’s hitters, as has been pointed out, contributes toward the Mariner problems in a game of this type. The opponent does not need to burn through as many pitchers simply because the M’s (other than Sexson with his old player skill set) just don’t take pitches.

    And of course, putting craptastic hitters in the middle of your lineup contributes greatly to the lack of run scoring…

  24. MarcS74 on July 7th, 2008 8:19 am

    I think Burke was probably the best choice for the emergency pitcher since we didn’t have anyone left to play outfield, that pretty much took Bloomquist and Ichiro out of the equation.

    I think Jiminez was a starter at Tacoma, I believe that is why he could go 4 innings in relief.

    How about everyone lays off Bloomquist who has been playing pretty well, I know he hasn’t been getting any precious extra base hits, but he has been playing pretty good defense and getting on base, and beat on Bentancourt for not knowing what the freaking situation was in the 15th and not taking a couple freaking pitches to give Bloomquist a chance to run since that is one of the things he does best and why he is on the team to start with.

  25. Some Dude on July 7th, 2008 9:05 am

    The real problem here is that our lousy offense only managed to back up 260 pitches with 1 run of support.

    Or if you look at it the other way, the Tigers threw 198 pitches to us and we only managed to turn one of them into a run.

    Weak sauce.

  26. Joe C on July 7th, 2008 9:13 am

    What is it about Ichiro’s injury history that makes anyone think he could get hurt if he pitched. I know the chance is always there for a pitcher, but has he ever been on the DL?

  27. AssumedName on July 7th, 2008 9:30 am

    If the Ichi-arm had gone to the mound, that game would never have left my DVR.

    In the 13th, I said to my (6 year old obsessed M’s fan) son, “If this game keeps going, maybe Ichiro will pitch.”

    He kept complaining he had to go to the bathroom, but wouldn’t leave the room (or even countenance me pausing the DVR), just on the chance of Ichiro pitch.

    Make it happen, Riggles.

  28. Slippery Elmer on July 7th, 2008 10:27 am

    Paul B: And the hacktastic nature of the M’s hitters, as has been pointed out, contributes toward the Mariner problems in a game of this type. The opponent does not need to burn through as many pitchers . . .

    I doubt it. The opposition’s ability to insert fresh pitchers in an extra-inning game has nothing to do with whether the Mariners are able to do so. The M’s offensive hackiness is a totally separate issue from their bullpen usage.

  29. KaminaAyato on July 7th, 2008 10:51 am

    People here already know my opinion on Ichiro pitching, so I won’t bother to repeat it.

    If people are so scared because of having position players pitch because of Jose Canseco, I have 2 quick thoughts:

    1) It’s Jose Canseco. Enough said.
    2) If people are so concerned with position players pitching, why do we see that in levels of Little League all the way to college?

  30. Paul B on July 7th, 2008 11:25 am

    I doubt it. The opposition’s ability to insert fresh pitchers in an extra-inning game has nothing to do with whether the Mariners are able to do so. The M’s offensive hackiness is a totally separate issue from their bullpen usage.

    You didn’t read what I wrote. The M’s hitting style directly affected their chances to win the game.

    If one team runs out of pitchers, and the other team still has valid pitchers left, wouldn’t that put the team without pitchers at a disadvantage?

    If the game goes enough innings, each team will run out of pitchers. The Mariner hitting style ensures that they will run out of pitchers first.

  31. Paul B on July 7th, 2008 11:26 am

    If people are so concerned with position players pitching, why do we see that in levels of Little League all the way to college?

    Maybe because the position players in the Majors are worth millions of dollars?

  32. KaminaAyato on July 7th, 2008 11:54 am

    30 – Those are two seperate issues. The only thing that the M’s being more patient at the plate can affect is the usage of the opponents bullpen. It still doesn’t change the fact that Riggleman blew through his bullpen and was forced to choose between yesterday’s starter and position players. If you think about it, if we had an actual starter on the mound we could have gone an extra inning or two because that starter, instead of RRS, could have gone longer. Or, had he have Batista pitch another inning or two, that would have helped. Of course extending the bullpen even more yesterday means that you’re bullpen is definitely shot today against Oakland.

  33. Vlad on July 7th, 2008 12:12 pm

    If people are so concerned with position players pitching, why do we see that in levels of Little League all the way to college?

    If you saw someone wrecking his porsche in a jack ass rally would you do the same with yours? Even though I would let Ichiro pitch one inning cause I do not believe that throwing twenty or thirty times from 60 feet does any damage to your arm, capable of throwing 300 feet, I still understand the concerns of what would one freaking line drive do if it would hit him.

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