With all the drama surrounding closer Chris Perez's statements regarding attendance and fan apathy paired with the Cleveland Indians' three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers, little attention has been paid to Shin-Soo Choo who has been on fire since assuming the leadoff role just 10 games ago.
"The first four or five weeks, I missed a lot of fastballs," Choo said. "In the big leagues, if you miss fastballs, you can't play here. You have to hit a fastball. Now I'm swinging to make contact -- ground ball, fly ball, whatever."
Since the lineup change the Indians have gone 8-2, more importantly Choo is batting .350 with a pair of home runs, four RBIs, six walks, and seven runs scored.
To give Choo all the credit for the Tribe's recent run of success would be silly, however it is a collection of many little adjustments such as this that has led to Cleveland's success as a team.
Detroit, with their big-money free-agent signings, sit six games behind the first place Indians. The Tigers were supposed to run away with the division right out of the gate leaving the Indians and Chicago White Sox to battle it out for table scraps and the hope of landing one of the two wild-card spots at the end of the season. With the strength of the American League East, even that was expected to be a long shot.
Granted, it is only late May and three-quarters of the season are left to play, but if what we have seen thus far is any indication of what to expect this season, then fans are certainly in for a treat.
The best part of it all for Cleveland is Grady Sizemore and Roberto Hernandez have yet to join the team from their respective situations that have kept them off the roster. Whether or not they will make an impact upon their return is yet to be determined but both are talented players who have many positive aspects to offer the team.
In the mean time, Indians fans can relish in the fact Choo has found his home at the top of the order and manager Manny Acta has no plans on moving him any time soon. His 454-foot leadoff home run against Tigers' ace Justin Verlander on Thursday, May 24 further solidified his value in that slot. Lets just hope Choo and the Tribe continue to roll moving forward.
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