While the Texas Rangers dropped a thriller in Arlington to the Kansas City Royals last night, the offense did their part, scoring six. The Rangers came back to tie the game on three separate occasions, with the most impressive effort being in the bottom of the ninth against two-time all-star closer Greg Holland. Who started that ninth inning rally? None other than Shin-Soo Choo.
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After a sacrifice moved pinch-runner Jake Smolinkski to second and Prince Fielder grounded out, Adrian Beltre gave the Rangers hope with a game-tying single to right-center that would send the game into extras. On the first pitch of the extra frame, Alex Gordon took the Stolmy Pimentel offering deep to right to put the Royals up for good. The Ranger bullpen allowed three runs on six hits (two home runs) a walk and two strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.
Instead of focusing on the bullpen, which has been awful of late and currently holds an ERA of 4.64 on the season, let’s focus on the positive today. We’ve mentioned it before, but with Choo atop the lineup, the offense has been performing much better. Choo himself is riding a 12-game hit streak in the month of May, going 17-for-51 (.333) and raising his batting average from .107 to .214 in that span. The team is 6-3 since the lineup was shuffled, outscoring their opponents 47-33 in that nine game span.
One small cause for concern is that Choo has struck out 20 times in his 51 at bats (39.21%) which is “Astros-nomical”. Even with the high strikeout rate, he is hitting more doubles (eight this month, one last month) and has three home runs to last month’s one in one less at bat.
Prince Fielder has a hit in ten of his last eleven, and sixteen of his last eighteen, but has seen his batting average drop from .375 to .333. All this means is that he’s getting fewer hits than he was earlier in the season, but he is still good for one or two a game, which is exactly what you want from your number three hitter.
Adrian Beltre has recorded multi-hit games in four of his last ten, including each of the Rangers’ past three contests, bringing his average up thirty-four points to its current .250 mark. Add in Kyle Blanks behind him, and spark plug Thomas Field (3-for-8 with Texas), and the offense should continue to provide some fireworks.
Now about that bullpen…