When outfielder Seiya Suzuki saw the Cubbie blue-clad supporters filling Wrigley Field’s stands for the first time, he was ecstatic.
The three weeks prior, he’d made a quick trip to Chicago and stopped by Wrigley Field before signing a $85 million, five-year contract with the Cubs.
In 44-degree weather, Opening Day was a completely different experience. Suzuki had mentally prepared for the possibility of feeling anxious.
“It was a lot of fun,” says the author. Through an interpreter, Suzuki spoke. My ability to be myself was evident in every one of my at-bats.’
Suzuki made his Major League Baseball debut on Thursday night as the Cubs defeated the Brewers 5-4. There were two walks in a 1-for-2 record.
During spring training, Suzuki’s on-field adjustment began. But the four-time Nippon Professional Baseball all-star didn’t just knock two home runs and a multihit game in his final spring-training appearance after striking out in his first two at-bats in the Cactus League.
The Velo is Usually Brought Up
“The velo is usually brought up,” There is a disturbance in timing and mechanics due to sliding steps in the MLB compared to Japan, according to Cubs hitting instructor Greg Brown. Isn’t it true that deliveries are different?
The Cubs’ right-hander Marcus Stroman gives you 17 distinct looks when you meet him. I was particularly impressed by [Suzuki’s] inventiveness and ability to adjust to the pitcher who was pitching at the moment.”
Rather than copying Suzuki’s stride, he discovered that moving with pitchers was the best strategy. Last week’s intrasquad scrimmage against Stroman was a really useful exercise.
In the wake of his two hits against Stroman this week, Suzuki said, “He’s my teammate, but there are so many things that I felt like I wanted to work on following my at-bats against Stroman.” I did the same thing in my at-bats on Monday.
Both Stroman and Suzuki were pleased with his performance, with Stroman noting that he was careful not to put anything in Suzuki’s striking zone.
He’s a Raker, Man
Stroman proclaimed, “He’s a raker, man,” and he wasn’t kidding. His raking ability is well-documented. I really like his approach. He wields considerable influence. When it comes to him, you can’t go wrong.”
It is not the same for every athlete, according to the Cubs’ video coordinator and Pacific Rim liaison Nao Masamoto. Additionally, Masamoto worked closely with Kosuke Fukudome during his time as a member of the Cubs.
There is more to life than baseball, right?” In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Masamoto revealed as much. “Your lifestyle has completely shifted.” It’s just a different day when you wake up. As a result, I’m confident that your performance on the baseball field is also influenced by this.
Witnessed the Dramatic Change in the Team’s Culture.
Following his stint in Japan in 2007, Cubs bench coach Andy Green has witnessed the dramatic change in the team’s culture.
As Green put it, “You end up on the other side of the planet where you can’t speak to anyone without an interpreter and you have no idea what practising looks like. For me, it was a really difficult adjustment.”
As he’s observed Suzuki adjust fast to the things that Green struggled with, he’s been impressed.
Suzuki faced Corbin Burnes in his first two MLB plate appearances Thursday, the reigning National League Cy Young champion. For his part, the second-inning walk and the fifth-inning single put him on base.
The Cubs went on their Greatest Run
As a result, the Cubs went on their greatest run of the game after that single. On a sacrifice fly by Patrick Wisdom, Suzuki equalised the score at 1-1. In the following inning, shortstop Nico Hoerner hit his first home run since September 2019 to give the Cubs the lead.
Asked about the cutter by Suzuki, the pitcher stated, “It was something I had never seen before,” alluding to Burnes. “So that was a lot of fun,” he said. This is a test for me, and I’m here to see if I can handle facing pitchers of this calibre. You may expect a new level of play from me.’
Despite all of Suzuki’s experience, he will continue to grow. Teams will fine-tune their strategies as they accumulate more data about him. As a result of this new strategy, he will respond to it. However, Suzuki’s debut at Wrigley made an impression on the audience.