Choo's laser throw pivotal to Rangers' hopes
Nails go-ahead run at plate to complete double play in seventh
ARLINGTON -- Shin-Soo Choo has been rolling at the plate since the All-Star break. On Monday night in a 4-3 victory over the Mariners, he added another element to his growing contributions to the Rangers' playoff surge.
He made a game-changing defensive play. Choo threw out Logan Morrison trying to score from third base on a fly ball in the seventh inning. Choo's strong throw, which Statcast™ recorded at 89.2 mph, kept the Mariners from taking their first lead.
"If we don't throw him out, it's a different ballgame," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
It was just Choo's eighth outfield assist in two years with the Rangers and only the third time he has directly thrown out a baserunner. The other five assists came at the start of a relay. By comparison, Leonys Martin has thrown out 16 baserunners directly over the past two years with 24 assists overall.
Martin has one of the best arms in the game, while Choo has been dealing with a sore left elbow the past two years. But on Monday night his throw from medium right field was both strong and accurate to catcher Chris Gimenez.
"Yeah, especially in a close game, we always think about the next play," Choo said. "I will throw to home plate, but I don't want to throw high and let the next runner get into scoring position."
Choo was 1-for-3 with a walk, a hit-by-pitch and two runs offensively. He walked in the first, singled in the third and both times scored on doubles by Adrian Beltre. In the ninth, he came up after bunt singles by Ryan Strausborger and Delino DeShields and got hit by a pitch to load the bases. Beltre's walk finished the job.
Since the All-Star break, Choo is hitting .338 with a .449 on-base percentage and a .625 slugging percentage. In 24 games, he has scored 17 runs, with nine doubles, a triple, four home runs and 16 RBIs.
"He is playing the brand of baseball we know he can do," Banister said. "It's nice to see. He is a veteran who needs to be that type of player. It's fun to see."