The Ichiro Factor
There is no doubt that this isn't 2001-2010 anymore. Ichiro Suzuki is not the 200-hit season Ichiro. But he can still really help the Yankees, not so much as an every day player who is dominant, but helping the Yanks change games in the late innings.Sunday, June 9, in Seattle, is a perfect example. He started the one run manufactured rally in the 9th inning that proved to be the difference in a 2-1 New York win with a simple walk. Once Ichiro is on, he still can rattle a pitcher and help the next man up who faces a pitcher who isn't throwing his best stuff because the baseball mind is on the runner at first base instead of the batter.
Ichiro is also a great situational hitter. He can bunt, take the ball the other way or leg out infield hits. Ichiro's speed is still there at age 39. His arm is better than average in right field. He fields the right field position well and rarely makes large mistakes which lead to big innings.
No, Ichiro isn't the old baseball Ichiro. He is simply an older Ichiro. But his services are still needed on this Yankee team. He does the little things to help win ball games.
The Ichiro Factor is still in play.
By: Mike Lindsley, "Mid-Day with Mike," 1-4, Yankees pre/post game host on 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio. Follow him on Twitter @MikeLSports.