Shin-Soo Choo has given the Cleveland Indians a shot in the arm in the leadoff spot.
Since taking over as the No. 1 batter in the lineup, Choo is hitting .368 (7-of-19) with three doubles and a home run in four games. Choo said he doesn’t think the lineup change has anything to do with his improvement at the plate. He is hitting .314 (17-of-54) in the past 15 games. In an interview with MLB.com, Choo said the following:
“I’m more confident right now. It doesn’t matter where I hit. Lineups are lineups. My goal is to be in the lineup every day, eight-hole or nine-hole, every day in the lineup. I think about it the same way. I don’t stress about it or anything.”
Choo’s turnaround at the plate this month has helped the AL Central-leading Indians stay out of prolonged slides. After a three-game losing skid against Boston last weekend, the Indians (22-16) swept a pair each from the Twins and the Mariners (including Thursday’s rally for a 6-5 win in the 11th inning).
Interleague play begins again
The Indians begin a three-game series with the Miami Marlins Friday as the 16th year of interleague play begins. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers face each other at Comerica Park.
The Pirates, who had an impressive start by James McDonald Thursday, likely will play lefty-hitting Garrett Jones in the DH role Friday and Sunday against right-handers Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, respectively. Josh Harrison probably will DH Saturday against lefty starter Drew Smyly.
The Indians (129-136) and Pirates (81-130) have losing records in all-time interleague games, while the Tigers (141-124) have a .532 winning percentage since interleague play started in 1997.
This really is the last year for interleague play in its current format. When the Houston Astros move to the AL next season, leaving 15 teams in each league, MLB will have an interleague game virtually every day.
Some fans never have been a fan of interleague games, dreading the thought of losing the DH in the lineup or the ability to make double switches. Either way you fall in that argument, the initial intrigue interleague play provided was worth the venture into it, in my opinion.