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Don’t call it a “small-market” World Series matchup

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I’ve already seen a lot of grumbling from various media members on Twitter about how the Giants-Rangers matchup is going to be a ratings nightmare for FOX. That may turn out to be true, but it won’t be because the markets involved are small ones.

J.C. Bradbury of Sabernomics notes that Nielson ranks Dallas and San Francisco as the fifth- and sixth-largest television markets in the country, respectively.

For comparison, here’s the top 10:

1. New York
2. Los Angeles
3. Chicago
4. Philadelphia
5. Dallas
6. San Francisco
7. Boston
8. Atlanta
9. Washington, D.C.
10. Houston

No one would be predicting ratings nightmares for, say, a Phillies-Red Sox matchup, but based on market size that’s basically the same as Giants-Rangers. Instead, what the people worried about ratings are really saying is that the World Series matchup is devoid of East Coast teams and thus unlikely to attract significant interest from the No. 1 market, New York.

And that’s probably true, but the No. 5 and No. 6 markets are going to be glued to their television sets and my guess is that the No. 2 (Los Angeles) and No. 10 (Houston) markets will also be more likely to watch than usual. Plus, if you’re not a FOX television employee or Bud Selig should you really care about TV ratings?

Giants versus Rangers is an extremely compelling matchup featuring two of the elite pitchers in baseball, the potential MVP in the AL, and two franchises that are very hungry for a championship. You can be certain that hardcore baseball fans will be watching, and if some casual fans on the East Coast decide not to tune into the games … well, that’s their loss.

Hisashi Iwakuma’s 2017 option vests, but salary still undetermined

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 13: Hisashi Iwakuma #18 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the third inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 13, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
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With last Wednesday’s start against the Yankees, Mariners hurler Hisashi Iwakuma pushed his 2016 innings total up to 2016. That clears the 162-inning hurdle for his 2017 option to vest at $14 million. However, as Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors reports, the language in Iwakuma’s contract also stipulates that the right-hander finish the season without suffering a specific injury.

Iwakuma, 35, was in agreement with the Dodgers on a three-year contract back in December but failed the physical, which nullified the deal. He ended up signing with the Mariners on a one-year, $12 million deal with a full no-trade clause and club options for 2017 and ’18 that vest at specific inning thresholds (162 each or 324 for both seasons).

This season, Iwakuma has stayed healthy, making 26 starts to the tune of a 14-9 record, a 3.81 ERA and a 118/36 K/BB ratio in 163 innings.

Ichiro Suzuki passes Wade Boggs for 27th on baseball’s all-time hits list

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 28: Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Miami Marlins grounds out during the 2nd inning against the San Diego Padres at Marlins Park on August 28, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
Eric Espada/Getty Images
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Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki deposited a single to left-center field in the fourth inning of Monday night’s game against the Mets, then added a double to center field in the eighth. Those mark hits No. 3,010 and 3,011 for Suzuki in his major league career, tying and then moving past Wade Boggs for sole possession of 27th on baseball’s all-time hits list.

Suzuki would come around to score on a double by Xavier Scruggs to break a scoreless tie in the eighth.

Here’s the video of Ichiro’s first hit.

By the end of the season, Suzuki will have presumably moved ahead of Rafael Palmeiro (26th; 3,020) and Lou Brock (25th; 3,023).

Suzuki was 2-for-4 after the double. With baseball’s fifth month nearly complete, the 42-year-old is currently batting .298/.371/.373.