After a slow start to this season, Choo realized he had gotten away from what he refers to as the ”sniper focus” he wants to have every time he goes to the plate for the Texas Rangers.
Choo now has a 38-game on-base streak. It is the longest of his 14-year big league career, and the second-longest this season behind a 40-gamer by Philadelphia’s Odubel Herrera.
”The physical side of it is a byproduct of him making a conscious effort to get back to who he is, what his foundation has been as a hitter, an on-base guy first,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. ”When he’s doing that and he’s seeing pitches, he’s focused in more on driving the ball, that he gets to hit his pitch. He’s really good at it.”
With three singles on Monday night, including the tiebreaking RBI hit in a 7-4 win over San Diego
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, Choo has the longest on-base streak for Texas since Otis Nixon’s 44 games in a row in 1995. Julio Franco’s 46-gamer in 1993 is the franchise record.
Choo was hitting .239 after going 0 for 4 with three strikeouts May 12 at Houston, along with a .316 on-base percentage.
Since then, the outfielder and designated hitter has 48 hits and 37 walks in 38 games – reaching base an average of 2.2 times each game during his streak. That has raised his batting average to .285 and increased his on-base percentage 79 points.
”He sticks to his approach more than anything. He doesn’t really care who is on the mound,” said Delino DeShields, the young center fielder whose locker is next to Choo’s. ”He knows himself, he’s done it for a long time. He knows when he’s getting away from that and it’s an easy adjustment for him to make.”
DeShields said Choo keeps things ”really simple” and sticks to his routine.
For Choo, that includes almost always being the first player in the clubhouse – whether before sunrise at spring training or around lunchtime before night games during the season.
Banister remembers showing up at the team’s complex around 5 a.m. one day early during the manager’s first spring with the team in 2015. Choo was already there.
”Next few days we got there at the same time and then one day I got up earlier for some reason and beat him to the ballpark,” Banister said. ”I didn’t beat him to the ballpark the next day.”
Choo, in his fifth season with Texas after playing for Seattle, Cleveland and Cincinnati, is also tidy. The two stalls he occupies in the home clubhouse are organized
, including the array of batting gloves stacked neatly and organized by color. He knows where everything is because it all has a specific spot – and says it’s the same at his house.
”He’s real particular,” DeShields said. ”He packs his own bag. … He always looks nice. It’s just how he is. He’s a professional. Whatever you define a professional to be, that’s him.”
Choo will turn 36 on July 13, four days before the All-Star Game. He has never been an All-Star before but is a strong candidate to represent the Rangers as a first-timer.
Banister said Choo certainly has played to a level to be considered for the American League squad in Washington next month.
”This is a great teammate. He really is. This is a guy who cares about every player in that locker room. He cares about the game. A lot,” Banister said. ”The respect for the game of baseball, how it’s played, the look of it, the players, the style of play, the way you should play the game.”
Francisco Lindor and the Cleveland Indians reached double digits, and then some.
Lindor homered and hit two of the Indians’ 11 doubles Sunday as they ended the Oakland Athletics‘ six-game winning streak with a 15-3 romp.
”It was really good
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,” Lindor said. ”Hopefully it’ll keep us in the right direction. Guys felt very comfortable today in the box. Hopefully we can carry that approach to tomorrow’s game.”
Edwin Encarnacion also homered and Jose Ramirez, Yonder Alonso and Lonnie Chisenhall each added two doubles. The Indians nearly matched the team record of 12 doubles set against Minnesota in 1996.
”We kept the line moving,” manager Terry Francona said. ”We hit the ball the other way, we hit the ball through the hole, we went first to third. That’s a good recipe for us. They’re grinding and grinding so it’s nice to have something to show for it.”
Alonso had four hits and three RBIs. Cleveland broke open the game with an eight-run eighth inning – its first 10 batters reached without an out.
Mike Clevinger (7-3) allowed three runs over six uneven innings as the AL Central leaders avoided a sweep.
Cleveland led 5-3 before its big eighth, getting five singles, two doubles, two walks and a hit batter before the A’s recorded an out. When Yan Gomes hit a comebacker to pitcher Josh Lucas for the first out, the Coliseum crowd of 16,164 erupted in mock cheers.
Khris Davis had two hits for the A’s. Oakland had won 12 of 14 going into the day, but left the bases loaded in the first and struggled to get much going after that.
”It’s unfortunate that this game got completely out of hand for us because the guys felt great about not only playing well but coming back
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,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. ”We had some good at-bats and then it just got a little out of hand.”
The Indians were outscored 10-3 in the first two games of the series and were on the verge of being swept for the second time this season before breaking out against A’s starter Frankie Montas (4-2) and four relievers.
Lindor struck out in his first at-bat, doubled in his next two and hit his 21st home run in the seventh. The Indians leadoff hitter later drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth.
Encarnacion also homered in the seventh, his 20th this season.
THIS AND THAT
Cleveland’s 13 extra-base hits are the most in the majors in a game this season. . The Indians are 7-1 when facing a sweep in the final game of a series. . Mark Canha has a 10-game hitting streak for Oakland.
Chisenhall made a diving catch at the right-field foul line on Chad Pinder’s sinking fly ball to end a bases-loaded threat in the first inning. Center fielder Rajai Davis made an equally impressive diving catch on Jed Lowrie’s liner in the third, then threw back to the infield and the Indians completed an 8-4-3 double play.
”Those were huge,” Davis said. ”Those are rally-killers.”
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco (right elbow contusion) threw 58 pitches over four innings of a rehab start with Double-A Akron.
Athletics: 3B Matt Chapman (right thumb contusion) took batting practice before the game and will begin a rehab stint with Single-A Stockton on Monday.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber (11-4, 2.54 ERA) pitches against the Royals in Kansas City on Monday, coming off the shortest start of his career.
Athletics: RHP Chris Bassitt (1-3, 2.82) faces the San Diego Padres on Monday in his second start since getting called up from the minors for the fifth time this season.