Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Jack's Ichiro! prediction

Ichiro fininshed the month of August with 212 hits for the season on his quest for 258 leaving him 46 hits short heading into tonight's game. Assuming that he averages 4.4 at bats per game he would need to go 46 for 136 putting him at a .338 clip for the month of September. Ichiro! hit for a .432 clip in July and a .463 clip in August which makes .338 appear to be a piece of cake. But just to be sure, let's look at the numbers:

Ichiro has hit .283 for the month of September in his American professional career. It's speculated all over that Ichiro wears down in September. I don't know that I buy that theory, although I do think it's possible that Ichiro plays worse in cooler weather since he also posts a .298 average in April. A typical Ichiro September would produce 39 hits putting him 7 short of his goal.

The next 7 games are against Toronto, the White Sox, and Cleveland. Opposing teams hit 274 against these three teams which is amongst the worst in the league. In my opinion he needs 14 hits in those 7 games. That comes out to two hits per game. It sounds like a lot right now, but the schedule gets scary after that. 18 of the 24 remaining games after that are against the Angels, Red Sox, and A's who own three of the top four spots in AL batting average against. I think he would be fortunate with 18 hits in those 18 games keeping in mind that Schilling and Pedro are sure to pitch and Hudson, Mulder, and Harden are pitching lights out lately. Even Zito seems to be back as the Oakland staff seems to have found life in August. All three of these teams are contending, and will not be giving in to Ichiro because more than Ichiro needs the hit, these teams need to win. The remaining six games are against Texas who are in the middle of the pack in batting average against. Since these games are in the last two weeks of the season, the Rangers may or may not be still in contention which could have a lot to say on how they pitch to Ichiro. In my opinion these are the make and break games for the record. I think that Ichiro will get between 9 and 12 hits during these games, but I am leaning on the low side toward nine.

To recap my prediction:

Ichiro needs 46 hits to break George Sisler's record.

Ichiro will get 14 hits in the next seven games against the weak pitching of the Blue Jays, White Sox, and Indians.

Ichiro will get 18 hits in the 18 games against the strong pitching of Oakland, Boston and Anaheim.

Ichiro will get 9 hits in the six games against the Rangers.

This adds up to 41 hits which is 4 shy of tying the record and 5 shy of breaking it.

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