What in the world happened to Kurt Suzuki?
Remember his remarkable 2009 campaign where he led the Athletics in RBIs with 88, and had a pretty decent slash line of .274/.313/.421? Obviously those days of driving in runs are gone, and I’m starting to suspect that all of those starts behind the plate are beginning to take a toll on Suzuki’s body.
He’s appeared in 93 games this season for the A’s, with 88 of those games coming from behind the plate. He’s handled Oakland pitchers quite nicely since arriving in 2008, and has been a major reason why young pitchers like Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez have had some success on the big league level. But aside from his handling of the pitching staff, Suzuki’s offense just isn’t cutting it anymore.
This hasn’t been a very fun year for Oakland’s offense, and for Suzuki, 2011 is a year he’d probably like to forget. While some of the A’s regulars have begun to heat up since the All-Star break, Suzuki’s offensive numbers have stayed relatively the same all season long.
He hit .225/.291/.342 before the break, and he’s currently batting .235/.273/.490 since the break. On the year, Suzuki is batting .227/.289/.365 with 9 HR and 29 RBIs, and is no longer hitting in the middle of Oakland’s lineup like he was in the Bob Geren days.
And he’s certainly not living up to the nickname (Kurt “Clutch” Suzuki) he had during his days at Cal State Fullerton. This season Suzuki is batting just .205 with runners in scoring position. There’s certainly nothing “clutch” about that.
2010 was a disappointing year for Suzuki, and 2011 was supposed to rebound year for the A’s backstop. Unfortunately, 2011 has shaped up to be an even worse year for Suzuki. The A’s, like me, are probably wondering what in the world happened to Kurt Suzuki.