Monday, August 20, 2012
Notebook: Ichiro flashes power
By Ian Begley
Ichiro Suzuki capped his red-hot homestand in impressive fashion on Sunday night.
The New York Yankees outfielder flashed seldom-seen power against the Boston Red Sox, clubbing two home runs in New York's 4-1 win.
Suzuki received a curtain call after the second homer, a shot to right in the sixth. He obliged with a tip of the cap to the sold-out Yankee Stadium crowd.
"I was embarrassed," he said afterward with a smile.
For the Yankees, Suzuki has been an embarrassment of riches.
He went .526 (10-for-19) with four runs, a double, a triple and two homers during the Yanks' seven-game homestand. Overall, he's batting .322 as a Yankee and has hit safely in 21 of 23 starts.
"Ichi's been great," Derek Jeter said.
Sunday night was Suzuki's seventh career mulit-homer game and his second of the season. He has two career multi-homer games at Yankee Stadium.
Joe Girardi thinks that Suzuki might be tailoring his swing to Yankee Stadium's short right-field wall.
"If he had been a Yankee for a number of years, who knows how many homers he might have hit? We know that there's power there," Girardi said.
But Suzuki dismissed that theory, saying he hasn't changed his swing at all.
"For a guy my size, it's still tough to get it out there -- even at this ballpark," he said with a laugh.
GRANDY MAN CAN HIT CLEANUP:Curtis Granderson hit in the cleanup spot on Sunday for only the second time in his career. And it turned out pretty well.
Granderson went 1-for-2 with an RBI double in the first to help lift the Yanks.
Girardi said he inserted Granderson in the cleanup spot because he had been hitting the ball well lately.
The only other time Granderson was in the cleanup spot was May 31, 2009, with the Tigers. He went 1-for-4 with a homer.
In all, Granderson has batted in six different lineup positions (Nos. 1-6) for the Yanks this season.
SORIANO ROLLING:Rafael Soriano gave up a single to Carl Crawford to start off the ninth but rebounded with a double-play ball and strikeout to seal the Yanks' win.
He has 31 saves on the season in place of the injured Mariano Rivera.
"He's done a great job in that role for us filling in for Mo," Girardi said. "He's not an easy guy to replace and a lot of guys would feel a lot of pressure in that role because of who you're replacing."
Soriano doesn't seem to be feeling the pressure.
On the season, he has a 1.64 ERA with 50 strikeouts in 49.1 innings pitched.