Texas Rangers

Shin-Soo Choo stays true to approach as loud outs turn to hits

Joey Gallo, left, congratulates Shin-Soo Choo after scoring on Choo’s two-run home run in the ninth inning Friday night.
Joey Gallo, left, congratulates Shin-Soo Choo after scoring on Choo’s two-run home run in the ninth inning Friday night. AP

Shin-Soo Choo learned a long time ago to let it go.

All those robbed base hits, all the hard-hit balls sent directly to fielders’ gloves.

Sooner or later, the Rangers outfielder learned, if you’re hitting them hard enough they’ll start to find holes and turn into hits, not outs.

All of that played out in Friday’s 4-3 win against the Rays. Choo lined out hard in the first, a 100 mph shot up the middle that the Rays had played perfectly.

In fact, the whole Rangers’ lineup hit balls hard on Friday night and until the ninth inning, had one run to show for it. So Choo’s two-run, game-tying homer in the ninth was fitting. It was an opposite-field shot measured at 105 mph by Statcast.

“Early in my career, I’d ask why, why, why,” Choo said. “You try to stay positive. Think about my next at-bat, not what I didn’t do before.”

Since the start of June, Choo has made an out on balls he hit 90 mph or harder 38 times. Lately, more hits are falling in. He has six hits in the past five games entering Saturday night. The key, Rangers manager Jeff Banister said, is not making changes when changes aren’t necessary. And they aren’t if you’re hitting balls hard.

“When you try to change, you’re going to walk yourself into a situation when you’re not barreling anything, let alone barreling it hard,” Banister said. “It’s a quality at-bat. It doesn’t go down as a positive other than what we keep track of.”

In his first at-bat Saturday, Choo lined out (at 95 mph) at the left-field wall, another well-struck opposite-field ball in the same area as Friday’s homer. This time, however — perhaps he was just a tad under it — it was caught at the wall.

He just shook his head and prepared for his next at-bat.

“It’s the only thing I can do. Swinging at strikes, following the approach, those are the only things I can do,” he said. “I know it sucks but with experience you learn.”

Stefan Stevenson: 817-390-7760, @StevensonFWST

  Comments