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Originally published August 6, 2016.

Offense, check.

Defense, check.

Relief pitching, check.

Just enough starting pitching, check.

The Rangers got back to playing Rangers baseball, just in time to avoid being swept in Baltimore.

Shin-Soo Choo returned last night from what seemed like an eternity, and immediately made an impact. Like, the-fifth-pitch-of-the-game immediately. Choo led off with a double and, even though he didn’t score, he sent a message that his back was back to allowing him to be the ideal leadoff hitter.

Jurickson Profar had been leading off in Choo’s absence, and has been crashing hard back to earth lately, hitting .173 in his last sixteen games. In fact, since the All-Star Game, Rangers leadoff hitters are limping by with an on-base percentage of .224.

You don’t win too many games with your leadoff hitter that anemic. Just eight out of eighteen, in fact.

But with Choo back, and with Carlos Beltran picking up two hits and an RBI, and with Jonathan Lucroy getting his first Rangers home run, the Rangers offense picked up eleven hits and five runs. It’s like the Rangers picked up three bats at the trade deadline.

Now they pick up and go to Houston where they have a chance to put a lot of daylight between them and the Astros.