Choo Remains Lynchpin to Indians

By: T.J. Zuppe

Cleveland Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo has had a rough 2011 season, to put it mildly. The emerging superstar right fielder has experienced several downfalls throughout the first three months of the campaign, including a subpar .236 batting average, hitting .184 in the month of June alone.

Not only have the numbers dipped, but Choo’s overall game has been below average. His defense has been adventurous at best, and everything has been compounded by his early season DUI charge.

With all that, Choo still remains the most important part of the Indians team. It is fair to say that the key to the Indians pushing past their latest slump resides on his shoulders.

Indians Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo

On the year, Choo has five home runs and 23 runs batted in. Though those numbers are well below his progression last season, they are directly related to the Tribe success.

Cleveland is 11-5 in games he has driven in at least one run. That leaves a 25-25 record in the games in which he does not. That speaks volumes about his significance and impact.

So much so in fact, if there was one player you could waive a magic wand to fix offensively, undoubtedly that magic would be put to use on Choo.

Wednesday night’s 6-4 victory over Detroit marked a hopeful turnaround for the talented outfielder. Choo went 2-4, with a walk and three runs scored.

Not only did he get on base, but he passed the all-important eye test. He looked much closer to an all-star caliber player than any other time this season.

Keep your fingers crossed that the trend continues.

It may be unfair, but Choo has to be the key to the Indians offensive turnaround. No one means more, considering how many times his play has shot the team in the proverbial foot early on.

When a team lacking as much talent as a club like the Yankees or Red Sox – partially because those clubs are backed by infinite funds – they have to rely on the few superstars caliber players they do have when the team flounders.

Unfortunately, they have not seen much of that same player, which has been amplified because of the huge slump the offense has fallen into. While during the early stages, players like third baseman Jack Hannahan and second baseman Orlando Cabrera hit well above average, Choo’s slump was covered in the three-hole.

With the rest of the lineup falling back to normalcy, Choo’s struggles continued, prompting a move to a lower part of the lineup.

Now there was hiding him. A slumping player always seems to be exposed in the biggest situations.

From this point on, the pressures fall directly on Choo. The team looks to him to reset that offesive tone – even making him more important than anyone else on the roster.

Hopefully Wednesday’s victory was a step towards rediscovering what truly lies beneath. If not, look for Cleveland ship to continue to take on more water, struggling to stay above the surface.


1 Comment

  1. Dude needs a shrink. Something is affecting his defense as well. Baserunning blunders. But he has proven he can carry you and he is almost the type of guy you want to let “swing out of it” and hopefully yesterday was a start. Too many freaking lefties on this team. How about Carlos Lee from the last place Astros ?

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