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Drive a Suzuki

The most prolific batsman of the 21st century is coming to Shea Stadium with a flaw in his game, and it's one that he won't be able to fix in the next couple of days.

Ichiro Suzuki, he of nearly 1,700 career major-league hits, has not had a walk-off hit since coming to the United States.

Every active major leaguer with at least as many hits as Ichiro has had a walk-off hit at some point in his career.

Breaking this down further via, I took a look at every walk-off chance that Ichiro has had in his career.

* He's had 19 career regular season plate appearances in the bottom of the 9th inning, with the score tied.

In those 19, he is 4-for-13, but more notably, he has 6 intentional walks. That's an indication that opponents are so fearful of his capabilities, that they won't give him a chance to get a walk-off hit.

* He had 33 plate appearances in the bottom of extra innings with the score tied.

In those 33, he is 13-for-27 with 3 walks and 3 sacrifice bunts. That's a .481 batting average. And yet, on none of those 13 hits did the winning run score. The problem with those hits...only 1 came with a runner in scoring position, thus making a walk-off scenario much more difficult.

I should note, one of Ichiro's walks was a walk-off (against the Rangers and former Met, Rich Rodriguez). I didn't say he had zero walk-off RBI. He's just never had a walk-off hit.

* He's had 2 plate appearances, with his team trailing in extra innings, in which he could have brought in the winning run.

He was 0-for-2.

* He's had 18 plate appearances with his team trailing in the bottom of the 9th, in which he could have brought in the winning run.

In those 18, he's 5-for-15, with 2 walks and a sacrifice bunt. However, he hasn't had a hit in such a scenario since 2002 (0-7, 2 walks from 2003 to 2008).

In fairness to Ichiro, it does appear rather difficult to get a walk-off hit from the leadoff spot, and the guy does enough other things well to offset this weakness. Current Mets leadoff man Jose Reyes has only one. The Mets most frequent leadoff hitter, Mookie Wilson, had two walk-off hits in his Mets career, but both were home runs.

True Metzukis know...

Some other Mariners walk-off trivia, thanks to

* On June 6, 1978, the Mariners beat the Yankees by walk-off, with the winning run scoring on an error by future Mets manager Willie Randolph.

* On July 13, 1985, the Mariners beat the Red Sox by walk-off, with the winning run scoring on an error by none other than Bill Buckner.

* 5 players have had a walk-off hit for the Mets and Mariners.

Walk-Off Hit for Mets and Mariners

Mike Cameron
John Olerud
Carl Everett
Butch Huskey
Kevin Mitchell

* The Mariners are one of 6 current teams that the Mets have never beaten by walk-off. The others are the Rangers, Rays, Indians, Twins, and White Sox


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