NEW YORK — The White Sox aren’t worried that Jose Abreu has yet to tap into his power.
Not only has he hit well the past 17 games, but Abreu entered Sunday’s contest nearly on the same pace he was last season when he blasted 30 round-trippers for the White Sox.
Abreu, who has hit 71 career homers, only hit five homers in his team’s first 37 games in 2016. But Abreu — who is hitting at a .329/.400/.500 clip with 15 RBIs in his last 80 plate appearances — produced six homers in the team’s first 37 games last season.
Had it not been for a massive wall of wind in Arlington, Texas, on Tuesday, Abreu would have six homers.
“He was swinging the bat pretty good,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Hit one that could have been a homer before the storm came in. He just has to continue to stay with it. We know what he can do. We don’t look at it like a guy is getting older and losing pop. People are pitching him different. I think once the lineup gets more consistent it’s going to happen.”
Perhaps of more concern is Abreu’s early struggles with runners in scoring position.
Through his first 54 plate appearances with RISP, Abreu hit .262/.370/.286 with no homers and 16 RBIs. In his first two seasons, Abreu hit .329/.449/.589 with 18 homers and 138 RBIs in 323 plate appearances.
But even those figures have improved. Since April 26, Abreu was hitting .375/.467/.417 with 11 RBIs and five walks in 29 plate appearances with runners in scoring position entering Sunday's game against the Yankees.
It might be a long shot for the White Sox to sign free agent Manny Machado, but here on the White Sox Talk Podcast, we like dark horses. Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey and Vinnie Duber discuss what it would take to bring Machado to the South Side. Plus, is he "the" guy the White Sox are targeting this offseason? Will the Rockies listen to trade offers for Nolan Arenado a year before he reaches free agency? Plus, Chuck talks about a cost-controlled, All-Star on a rebuilding team that could be an answer at third base.
Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:
Mark Buehrle. Jon Garland. Freddy García. José Contreras.
The 2005 White Sox had four consecutive complete games to finish off the 2005 ALCS — Contreras took his turn in Game 5 against the Angels 13 years ago Tuesday. How special was that run of starting pitching to finish that series? Consider the following six statements:
— No team has had more than two complete games in a single postseason, let alone a postseason series, since.
— There has been a grand total of four complete games in 188 postseason games (through Monday) since the beginning of 2016.
— Those 2005 White Sox remain the only team with four complete games in a single LCS (which went to a best-of-seven format in 1985).
— They are the only team since the 1968 Tigers (in the World Series) with at least four complete games in any postseason series.
— They are the only team since the 1956 Yankees (in the World Series) with at least four consecutive complete games in a series. (The Yankees had five in a row: Games 3 through 7.)
— They are the only team since the 1928 Yankees (in the World Series) with at least four consecutive complete-game wins in a series (Games 1 through 4).
Take a moment to look back and appreciate what Don Cooper’s troops were able to accomplish in that series. The way the game is played nowadays, we will never see it again.