Results tagged ‘ Hisashi Iwakuma ’

Patience Pays Off For Iwakuma

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Seattle Mariners

Hisashi Iwakuma went 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA, ranking 3rd in the AL in ERA in 2013.

The Hisashi Iwakuma story is one of recovery, consistency and quietly becoming one of the very best starting pitchers in Major League Baseball.

The numbers as a starter for the Seattle Mariners are impressive: 8-4 with a 2.65 ERA in 2012, and 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA in 2013.  Even more impressive is the rehabilitation “Kuma” did in 2012 as he recovered from shoulder problems he dealt with in 2011 during his final season with the Rakuten team in Japan.  The arm issues forced him to miss over two months during the 2011 season.

Fully aware of his arm problems, the Mariners signed him anyway.  When he reported to 2012 training camp in Peoria, AZ, his shoulder weakness was apparent.  General Manager Jack Zduriencik said, “Our training staff did a great job.  Congratulations to them for getting this guy healthy.  They put him on a very specific training program to strengthen his shoulder.”

He pitched sparingly in Cactus League games and he started the regular season as the last man in the bullpen.  Jack added, “There wasn’t pressure to get him into the starting rotation right away.  He was able to take the time necessary to rebuild the strength in his arm.”  As a result, Kuma pitched in relief just twice in April and three times in May.

Finally on July 2, all the hard work in the training room and in the bullpen paid off for Kuma and the Mariners.  Zduriencik added, “When the opportunity to start presented itself, he did a great job.  The new training program worked for him.  Since then, he has been one of the best in the game.”

Even though he was bothered by a blister on his middle finger over the first few weeks of the 2013 season, Iwakuma failed to complete at least five innings in only one start.  His work didn’t go unnoticed around the American League, as evidenced by his selection to the 2013 A.L. All-Star team.

His traditional stats in 2013 (14 wins, 2.66 ERA) and advanced stats (1.006 WHIP, 6.9 WAR) just begin to tell the story.

Congratulations to Kuma and the Mariners training staff!  His dedication and hard work in the first half of 2012, paved his road to recovery and success.

- RA

Taking a Closer Looks at Iwakuma’s Season

IwakumaFacts

With the 2013 season winding down, we thought it would be good to put the season of Hisashi Iwakuma into perspective. A couple of words come to mind: impressive, dominating, masterful. There are a number of great pitchers that have had excellent seasons in 2013, and we hope Kuma finds his name on the ballots of several baseball writers when they vote for the Cy Young Award. The following statistical notes show how dominating he was in his second Major League season:

  • Finished his second Major League season going 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA (65 ER, 219.2 IP) in 33 starts (23 quality starts).
  • Ranks 3rd in the American League with a 2.66 ERA…5th-lowest ERA in Mariners history, trailing Felix Hernandez (2.27 in ’10, 2.49 in ’01) and Randy Johnson (2.28 in ’97, 2.48 in ’95).
  • Among AL leaders also ranks T1st in games started (33), 2nd in innings pitched (219.2), 3rd in opponent batting average (.220), T3rd in quality starts (23), 6th in opponent OPS (.630) and T9th in strikeouts (185).
  • Record 5 no-decisions when pitching at least 6.0 innings with 0 ER allowed, tied for most during the searchable era (since 1916) with Roger Clemens in 2005…posted a 2.88 ERA (27 ER, 84.1 IP) in 13 no-decisions.
  • Ranks 2nd in the AL and set a Mariners single-season record with a 1.006 WHIP (Walks + Hits per IP).
  • Led the Majors and set a Mariners record with 10 starts where he pitched at least 6.0 innings and did not allow an ER (5-0, 5 no-decisions)…Felix Hernandez recorded 9 starts of 6.0 or more IP, 0 ER in 2009.
  • Went 4-0 with a 1.62 ERA (10 ER, 55.2 IP) over his final 8 starts of the season (8/16-9/25) to lower ERA from 3.02 to 2.66.
  • Went 2-0 with a 0.76 ERA (3 ER, 35.2 IP) in 5 starts in September…2nd-lowest ERA in a month in club history (min. 4 GS), trailing only the 0.50 mark by Mark Langston in September 1988 (3 ER, 53.2 IP, 6 GS).
  • Selected to his first All-Star game, but did not pitch due to starting the final game before the All-Star break.
  • Pitched in a career-high 219.2 innings, besting his Japanese career-high of 201.2 IP during his Pacific League MVP season in 2008…IP total was T3rd-most by a Japanese born pitcher trailing only Hideo Nomo (228.1 in 1996, 220.1 in 2002).
  • Ended the season with a streak of 23.0 consecutive scoreless innings, including 8.0 scoreless innings in his season finale Sept. 25 vs. KC.
  • Recorded a career-high 23.2 scoreless innings streak May 26-June 10 (8th-longest in club history)…did not allow an ER in 31.2 consecutive innings (5/26-6/17), the 2nd-longest streak in club history (34.0 IP, Mark Langston, 1988).
  • Was the only MLB pitcher with two scoreless streaks of at least 20.0 innings during the season…joins Freddy Garcia (2001) as the only pitcher in club history with a pair of scoreless innings streaks of at least 20.0 IP in a single season.
  • Recorded 25.0 consecutive scoreless innings on the road to end the season, tied for the longest streak in club history (8/21-9/18)…Brian Holman (6/27-7/19/84) and Randy Johnson (5/25-6/15/94) also had road scoreless streaks of 25.0 innings…recorded the 3rd-lowest road ERA in club history at 2.45, trailing Felix Hernandez (1.99 in ‘09) & Randy Johnson (2.45 in ‘95).
  • Recorded 10 starts without walking a batter, T2nd-most in the AL (Colon – 12, Price – 10) and T2nd-most in club history (Moyer – 11 in 2002)…ranked 3rd in AL with 1.72 BB/9.0 IP and 4th with 4.40 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
  • Tied for the AL lead with 4 starts where he recorded 7 or more strikeouts without allowing a walk (Ervin Santana – KC & David Price – TB).
  • Matched career-high (6 times) with 8.0 innings pitched…was only 2-0 with 4 no-decisions (1.69 ERA) when pitching 8.0 innings.
  • Opened the season going 7-1, 1.79 ERA in his first 14 starts of the season (ranked 2nd in the AL in ERA following 6/10 start vs. HOU).
  • Held opponents to a .184 average with runners in scoring position (26×141) and .111 with RISP/2 outs (7×63).
  • Since making his first MLB start on July 2, 2012, combined to go 22-10 with a 2.66 ERA, the 6th-lowest ERA in the Majors during that span.

Gold Nuggets – Franklin, Iwakuma and Clemson Connection

Brad Miller and Jeff Baker of the Rangers were both All-Americans at Clemson.

Brad Miller and Jeff Baker of the Rangers were both All-Americans at Clemson.

Throughout the season, Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith will provide content on From the Corner of Edgar & Dave, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the Mariners players and organization. This post covers Nick Franklin batting leadoff for the first time in his MLB career, tonight’s pitching match-up between Hisashi Iwakuma and Derek Holland, and a Clemson connection.

Nick Franklin saw his name at the top of the lineup card for the first time in his Major League career Monday. “I love hitting leadoff,” Franklin said. “I’ve hit all up and down the order in my career, but feel like I’m at my best when I’m fighting off pitches and working counts.”

It will be interesting to see if Nick is leading off again Tuesday against Texas. When Franklin is seeing the ball well, he proved to be one of the more patient and effective hitters on the team. Through his first 35 games, the M’s second baseman hit .290/.350/.473. In his last 36 games Franklin is batting .177/.255/.355.

It will be up to Hisashi Iwakuma to keep the Rangers off the board Tuesday night. He’s coming off his 13th quality start of the season, holding the A’s to three runs over seven innings on August 21. Talking with Iwakuma yesterday after batting practice (through interpreter Antony Suzuki), he said he threw less sliders to the A’s in his last start and more fastballs. When asked what makes his 90 mph fastball to effective, Iwakuma said it was because of how well he hides the ball in his delivery.

Iwakuma will need to be especially stingy Tuesday. Texas starter Derek Holland has made three starts against Seattle this year and has struck out 26 batters over 19 2/3 innings while allowing just two earned runs (0.92 ERA).

There was a Clemson connection Monday night at Safeco Field. Jeff Baker was in left field for the Rangers while Brad Miller was at shortstop for the Mariners. “He was a big reason why I wanted to go to Clemson,” Miller said. With 59 career homers, Baker left Clemson as the school’s all time home run leader and was part of the Tigers 2002 College World Series team with Khalil Greene and Michael Johnson.

“All my friends wanted to play at Florida, but I knew I wanted to play at Clemson,” Brad explained. “What Baker, Khalil, and Johnson did there made me so excited to play for Clemson.”

Mariners Magazine – Hisashi Iwakuma

The second edition of Mariners Magazine (Volume 24, Issue 2) featuring Hisashi Iwakuma is now available for purchase throughout Safeco Field and at any of the five Mariners Team Stores. You can also subscribe to Mariners Magazine and have it delivered to your home.

13MM2_Cover_Iwakuma

Photo of the Day

Hisashi Iwakuma improved to 2-0 on the season allowing 1 run over 6.2 innings vs. the Texas Rangers last night. (AP/Ted Warren)

Hisashi Iwakuma improved to 2-0 on the season allowing 1 run over 6.2 innings vs. the Texas Rangers last night. (AP/Ted Warren)

Mariners Mondays – Kuma handles the Angels

Hisashi Iwakuma in his start Sept. 2, 2012 vs. the Angels.

Hisashi Iwakuma in his start Sept. 2, 2012 vs. the Angels.

Tonight on Mariners Mondays on ROOT SPORTS a pair of starts by starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma in which he dominates the Angels in two late-seasons starts one month apart.

On Sunday, September 2, Iwakuma pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings and Carols Peguero and Jesus Montero hit solo homers off the Angels ace Jered Weaver to give the Mariners a 2-1 win.

In the second game, October 2, Kuma was the happy recipient of some offensive support as the Mariners beat the Angels 6-1. Iwakuma allowed six hits and struck out seven, including Albert Pujols three times and won his third consecutive start. The offensive outburst was keyed by Kyle Seager’s first inning solo home run, his 20th of the season.

Catch highlights of both games tonight on ROOT SPORTS Mariners Mondays (check your local listings).

2012 Awards Schedule

Felix Hernandez has a good chance at being a finalist for the AL Cy Young Award after posting a 13-9 record with a 3.06 ERA and leading the Majors with 5 shutouts. (Getty Images)

The off-season is off to a quick start for the Mariners with the club signing right-handed starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma to a two-year contract extension through the 2014 season (with an option for 2015) and re-signing left-handed reliever Oliver Perez to a one-year deal.

And to keep you excited about baseball, awards season is about to begin. You already know that Brendan Ryan won the Fielding Bible Award as the top defensive shortstop in baseball and was a finalist (along with 2B Dustin Ackley) for the Rawlings Gold Glove Award, but more awards are about to be handed out.

Here’s the rundown of the MLB Awards schedule:

  • Tonight (Monday): Players Choice Awards at 5pm PT on MLB Network
  • Thursday, November 8: Silver Slugger Awards at 3pm PT on MLB Network
  • Monday, November 12: Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Awards at 3pm PT on MLB Network
  • Tuesday, November 13: Manager of the Year Awards at 3pm PT on MLB Network
  • Wednesday, November 14: Cy Young Awards at 3pm PT on MLB Network
  • Thursday, November 15: Most Valuable Player Awards at 3pm PT on MLB Network

This year marks the first time that the BBWAA Awards (ROY, MGR, Cy Young, MVP) will be presented live on television (MLB Network). Prior to BBWAA Awards Week, for the first time ever, the five finalists in each league for the MVP Award and the three AL and NL finalists for the Cy Young, Manager of the Year and Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year awards will be announced live during MLB Network’s BBWAA Awards Finalists Show this Wednesday, November 7 at 3pm PT. Tune in to see how King Felix fares in the American League Cy Young race.

Montero and Iwakuma Visit Tacoma’s Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital

Jesus Montero, Hisashi Iwakuma and the Mariner Moose spent some time today with patients at Tacoma’s Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. Their visit was part of the on-going Mariners Get Well Tour, presented by Holland America Line. There were smiles all around as patients posed for photos, got autographs and received gift bags, courtesy of Holland America Lines.

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Major League History – The Japanese Trifecta

The Mariners were part of Major League history tonight, as the starting lineup consisted of three Japanese-born players. Ichiro (RF), Munenori Kawasaki (2B) and Hisashi Iwakuma (P) became the first trio of Japanese players to start for the same team in a Major League game.

Hisashi Iwakuma (P), Munenori Kawasaki (2B) and Ichiro Suzuki (RF) became the first Japanese trio to start in a Major League game.

International Men of Mound

Erasmo Ramirez (Nicaragua), Jason Vargas (United States), Hisashi Iwakuma (Japan), Felix Hernandez (Venezuela), Hector Noesi (Dominican Republic).

Over the next five games (starting tonight), the Mariners will send to the mound five different starting pitchers, all from different countries. Erasmo Ramirez (Nicaragua) will start things off and will be followed by Jason Vargas (United States) in the Sunday finale against the Boston Red Sox. The three pitchers who will face off against the Baltimore Orioles starting on Monday will be Hisashi Iwakuma (Japan), Felix Hernandez (Venezuela) and Hector Noesi (Dominican Republic).

That 5-day rotation leads us to ask, how many countries have been represented by Mariners pitchers? When you add in the left-hander from the bullpen Oliver Perez (Mexico), and of course the American-born players, the list grows to seven on the active roster.

Since the Mariners began playing in 1977, pitchers from 12 different coutries have toed the rubber for the team including the United States (271 pitchers), Australia (2), Canada (7), Columbia (1), Cuba (2), Dominican Republic (16), Japan (5), Mexico (5), Nicaragua (2), Puerto Rico (7), South Korea (1) and Venezuela (8).

Here’s a complete list of foreign-born Mariners pitchers:

Foreign-Born Mariners Pitchers.

 

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