We've already had one game come to its conclusion today, and in case you missed it, it was a good one. The Indians beat the Rangers 3-2 in a tight game, with all five runs coming on two home runs. On the hole, it was what you'd call a pitcher's duel of sorts. Cleveland starter David Huff pitched a complete game, giving up 4 hits, 2 runs and 1 walk, while striking out 4. The Rangers' Matt Harrison had seven strong innings, giving up one run on 5 hits and a walk, punching out 3.
But there should be no confusion about who the game's most valuable player was, because Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo blows them all away. The Rangers appeared to have the game pretty much in check before the team's left side of the infield fell apart, committing consecutive errors to begin the eighth inning. Harrison managed to push Choo to a full count, but the Korean slugger managed to take the next pitch and wallop it into oblivion, giving Cleveland a lead that they wouldn't relinquish. He finished the game 2-for-4 with a double, a homer and 3 RBI, but even that may understate the impact that he had on this game.
For the game, Choo finished with a WPA (Win Probability Added) of .533, an exceptional mark when you consider that for each game, the entire winning team's WPA adds up to 0.5, while the losing team's WPA adds up to -0.5. WPA has been covered here some, but here's the WPA post from Alex Remington's fantastic "Everything you ever wanted to know about..." series to make things easier. Essentially, a .533 WPA means that you had a really, really freaking good game.
Honestly, the Indians probably don't win this game without Choo. Huff had a nice game, but the remainder of Cleveland's lineup essentially deferred to Choo this afternoon. Beyond Choo, the Indians' lineup, which included the likes of Mark Grudzielanek, Mike Redmond and Austin Kearns, fell flat on its face, posting a collective WPA of -0.309. The eighth inning home run that Choo hit posted a .499 WPA on its own, essentially contributing the entirety of the team's WPA for the win.
Slowly but surely, people are coming to realize that Choo isn't just a good player, he's one of the best all-around outfielders in the game. I've seen this guy play before, and the ball just absolutely jumps off his bat. It's unfortunate that Choo didn't get a real shot in the majors until 2008, when he was already 26, but he's already proven to be one of the best players in the game, thanks to days like today.