MLB Week in Review (June 10-16)

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This week was yet another week in the season where teams continued to try to get positioning as the all-star break is fast approaching.

For one player though it was far more than just another week as a long-time player and one of the few players that are universally loved entered the record books.

Ichiro Suzuki always seemed like he could be headed to the hall of fame from the start.

He is officially the first non-pitcher from Japan to play in the MLB, he beat out Tsuyoshi Shinjo by a day and is the longest lasting Japanese-born player in MLB history.

He truly is a trailblazer as he became the blueprint for what every team wanted in a Japanese hitter.

From the start of his career, he had a knack for finding ways to get hits that not many other players could get.

His awkward style will never be taught to aspiring players but for Ichiro, it worked and worked very well.

No pitcher had to leave the ball up in the zone for Ichiro to get a hold of it as he could hit the ball anywhere in and around the strike zone.

As a result, he put up great numbers and continued to rack up the hits throughout his career.

It certainly helped that he is now in his 16th season in the MLB but this week he climbed the ladder and used that awkward style to become the all-time hits leader.

This week he earned his 4,257th career hit to pass Pete Rose as the hit king throughout baseball.

The record comes with a little bit of controversy though as those 4,257 hits didn’t all come from his time in the MLB.

He is the all-time hit king in professional baseball but not necessarily in major league baseball.

While in Japan, Suzuki put together 1,278 hits and since moving to the MLB he has hit 2,979, put both numbers together and he has the most hits in professional baseball.

That puts him ahead of Rose but for many he hasn’t reached that same level as Rose.

The debate surrounds the idea that Japanese baseball is much more like the minor leagues than the MLB.

Earning the hits that he did in NPB, to some doesn’t mean as much and therefore shouldn’t count towards the record.

In one way they do have a point as the Japanese league isn’t full of the best players in the world.

It is a league where many players from around Asia play in order to get noticed by the MLB and sign a big deal to become the next Ichiro.

It is not a league that is entirely without talent though as Japanese pitchers are often a hot commodity in the MLB with great talent.

Getting hits off of them is not the easiest task, as many found out when the great few came to the MLB.baseball-sidebar

There is also something to be said for the fact that Ichiro did earn the majority of his hits in the MLB since joining at 28-years-old.

Pete Rose began his career at 22-years-old and it is easy to believe that Ichiro could have caught him years ago if he played at the same age.

There is another factor to the record-breaking career though and that is that MLB would love nothing more than to have the only man banned from baseball out of the record books.

Rose has never held his tongue regarding the MLB and regardless of his gambling issues and lifetime ban he was one of the best players in the history of the game.

He holds plenty of records but the hits record was the biggest and getting him off of that list is not necessarily a bad thing for the MLB.  That is true especially when someone like Suzuki is replacing him.

He has always been a player that did everything right including near the end of the steroid era.

A universally loved player that many would love to see as the all-time hits leader and so he is, even if he didn’t get all of his hits in the MLB.

As he continues his season, Ichiro will only build on his hit total as he approaches 3,000 in the MLB.

Some will call him the all-time hits leader while others will continue the debate over whether he truly deserves that title.

Extra Innings
(More on this week in baseball)

Wright Under the Knife
David Wright has been fast approaching the end of his career with back issues including spinal stenosis and those issues continued this week when he went into surgery to fix a herniated disk putting another season in jeopardy

Reyes Out of Baseball?
He has been the face of the MLB’s new quest against domestic violence and now Jose Reyes might never play again as he was designated for assignment by the Colorado Rockies and some believe he may not find another team

The Next One
The Cuban baseball market has been one of the more popular in recent years and might only be getting better as more players continue to make the transition with the latest being Yulieski Gourriel who is now an MLB free agent

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Key Series:
Texas Rangers 2-1 Seattle Mariners
– The Mariners are giving the rangers a run for their money in the west but they couldn’t get the series win this time as the division continues to be a great battle and this series might become an important part of that race

Kansas City Royals 2-1 Chicago White Sox
– At the start of the season, the White Sox looked unbeatable as they rose to the top of the division while the defending champs couldn’t get anything going but in this series the roles were reversed as the Royals continued to climb up while the White Sox fell

Washington Nationals 2-1 Chicago Cubs
– Both teams have been two of the most hyped teams over the last few seasons and now they were competing to be one of the best teams in the league with the Cubs coming up short against a Nationals team with a little less weight on their shoulders

Baltimore Orioles 2-1 Boston Red Sox
– The battle for the East is slightly different than what was expected as the Orioles and Red Sox have been fighting it out all year as they met face-to-face with the Orioles coming out on top taking two games in the series

Upcoming Series:
Texas Rangers vs. St. Louis Cardinals [June 17-19]
– The Rangers and the Cardinals are two teams that are used to being the best in their division but they are getting a fight this year as the two teams face-off looking to continue their fight for their respective divisions

Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers [June 20-22]
– The Nationals did not receive the hype they did a year ago but it seems to be a good thing as they continue to run through their schedule as they now take on the Dodgers who have been somewhat inconsistent this year but are still remaining at the top of the west

Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals [June 20-22]
– This long-time rivalry had not been the same a few years ago as the Cards were just too good for the rivalry to have any fire but now with the Cubs on pace for one of the best seasons in MLB history this rivalry is gaining steam once again

San Francisco Giants vs. Pittsburgh Pirates [June 20-23]
– Two of the best teams in the league face-off in another great series as they both look to stay near the top of their division with the Pirates fighting a big fight against the best team in baseball and just trying to keep pace

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