BOSTON – For the second time in three days, the Rangers’ hottest hitter was out of the lineup Wednesday.
The club decided to give Shin-Soo Choo, currently holding a club-record 48-game on-base streak, against tough Boston left-hander Chris Sale. But manager Jeff Banister said the decision had nothing to do with Choo’s career .077 (2 for 26) batting average against Sale. It had everything to do with Adrian Beltre, Banister said.
Beltre, who played third base on three consecutive days over the weekend, needed to DH on Wednesday, Banister said. It was also the second time in the last three days Beltre was the DH. Choo currently can’t play the outfield due to a sore quadriceps muscle.
“This is consistent with how we’ve structured our lineup when Adrian is the DH,” Banister said. “When Choo is locked in, as he is right now, all things being equal I’ve never held him out of left-on-left situations. It has everything to do with Beltre DH’ing, not with Choo.
The Rangers started just three left-handed hitters – Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor and Joey Gallo – against Sale. They entered the game a composite 1 for 14 against Sale with 10 strikeouts. The fill lineup that started Wednesday has a career average of .172 (15 for 87) against Sale with a pair of home runs (one each by Adrian Beltre and Ryan Rua).
Of course, it is hard to find good matchups against Sale for any opponent. He’s holding left-handers to a .164 batting average and .433 OPS. Right-handers, who should have an edge against him, are batting .185 with a .567 OPS.