For a team to get hot, one guy in the lineup needs to ignite it. Shin-Soo Choo has been the blasting cap for this offense almost from the moment he was moved into the leadoff slot.
The incredible stats site baseball-reference.com breaks down a hitter by weeks, and there is nothing weak about what Choo is doing.
Here is his line the past week: .381 AVG, .458 OBP, 1.077 OPS.
The past two weeks: .357/.491/1.086.
The past four weeks: .345/.462/1.060.
On May 12, in a 6-1 loss against Houston, Choo went 0-for-4 with no walks. He was hitting .239.
Since then, he started a remarkable streak of getting on base at least once a game. Like the dog on the couch, every time you look up, Choo is on base.
On June 2 Choo was moved to the leadoff slot. Since then, the Rangers are 11-9. Not bad for a team that’s ten games under .500.
One guy can carry a team. (See Mike Napoli, second half of 2011.) And Choo helped carry the Rangers from a 4-0 deficit to 7-4 win over the Padres last night.
He drove in the eventual winning run in the deciding five-run sixth. It was one of those innings where everyone hit the ball, hit the ball hard, kept the line moving, took advantage of a little luck, a little sloppy Padres defense. All the things other teams had been taking advantage of the Rangers for the better part of the season.
It wasn’t a bludgeoning. When Odor came to the plate, the Rangers had had four singles and a sac fly to score their three runs which tied it at 4-4.
Choo came up, got an infield single that made it 5-4. And that was the dagger.
The Rangers scored seven runs on twelve hits, and not one home run. And just one extra-base hit. It was just a steady stream of singles.
Choo had three. He’s had a lot of them lately.
Tyson Ross (5-5, 3.34) vs. Austin Bibens-Dirkx (1-1, 4.58)
Game time: 7:05
The Padres have never faced Bibens-Dirkx.
How Rangers hit against Ross.