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#pounditMonday, January 30, 2023

Analyzing Ichiro’s Amazing Walk-Off Home Run to Beat Mariano Rivera

Yankees Mariners BaseballIf you haven’t seen Ichiro’s miracle blast against Mariano Rivera from Friday night, do yourself a favor and watch it now because it was awesome. The Mariners were down 2-1 in the 9th against the Yankees and Rivera had struck out the first two batters he faced. Mike Sweeney then hit a pinch-hit double, bringing up Ichiro to the plate. Let’s go beyond the boxscore to detail how improbable Ichiro’s walk-off home run was:

    > Ichiro hit the first pitch out, a patented Rivera cutter
    > It was the second straight game Ichiro ended with a walk-off hit (he had just one in his career prior to Thursday)
    > Rivera had converted 36 straight saves
    > Rivera hadn’t blown a save against the Mariners since 1997 (27 straight)
    > The Yankees had been 155-1 when leading after 8 innings the past two seasons
    > It gave Felix Hernandez his 16th win of the season, keeping him in the Cy Young race

The ending to the game really won’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things considering the Yankees are still going to take the AL East and the Mariners still won’t make the playoffs, but the big blow speaks to the quality of player Ichiro is. Not just anyone can beat Mariano Rivera in the 9th inning — on a cutter no less; it just doesn’t happen very often. Yet a guy who’s not even a power hitter still took Rivera deep in the 9th with two outs. Ichiro showed once again how truly elite he is — he’s a one-of-a-kind ballplayer and we’re lucky to have witnessed his brilliance.


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