CHICAGO -- Remember when Jose Abreu was hitting a pedestrian .250? It was just a few weeks ago, July 22 to be exact, but with his return to the norm, it's hard to even imagine those extended struggles.With his double, single and walk in the White Sox 7-3 loss to
CHICAGO -- Remember when Jose Abreu was hitting a pedestrian .250? It was just a few weeks ago, July 22 to be exact, but with his return to the norm, it's hard to even imagine those extended struggles.
With his double, single and walk in the White Sox 7-3 loss to the Yankees on Wednesday, Abreu raised his average to .269 and his OPS to .817. He picked up his 67th RBI with a run-scoring double in the first against Luis Severino, giving him a viable opportunity for a fifth straight season with 100 RBIs to start his big league career. This work comes one night after Abreu knocked out his 20th home run, giving him five straight years with at least that many.
He looks different as a hitter and has a different feel at the plate compared with where he was one month ago.
"I feel completely different," said Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo after raising his average to .373 with 15 RBIs over his last 17 games. "I work hard just to try to overcome that rough moment that I was passing through. I have the support of a lot of people around me, and that's important.
"I learned a lot during that moment. I proved to myself right now that I'm able to overcome those situations, and now I'm just happy and I'm just trying to enjoy this moment. But at the same time, I'm trying to keep moving forward. I want to finish the season strong."
Abreu is getting these results despite not having ironclad support from the lineup. Yoan Moncada broke an 0-for-18 funk with a single in the fifth, and although Daniel Palka has hit 17 homers and Avisail Garcia has hit 13, there hasn't been a consistent presence in front of or behind Abreu all season. The question now is whether he will still be in the middle of that lineup when the White Sox rebuild moves into its contention phase.
Manager Rick Renteria isn't worried about a future slowdown for Abreu, who turned 31 on Jan. 29, and over whom the White Sox have contractual control through the 2019 season. Renteria also never had a doubt that Abreu would get things right offensively.
"No, because that wasn't a physical factor. It wasn't even an emotional or mental factor, it's just baseball," Renteria said. "He understood that he was going to come out of it. He just kept working. He did his routine the same.
"Everything was going along. He had some at-bats during the down time where he was actually hitting some balls well, not getting a whole lot out of it. And he had some at-bats where you could see he was chasing, trying to do too much, which is what occurs when you fall out of the zone a little bit. So he fell out of it a little longer than you might normally be seeing out of him the few years you've had him here. But there was no doubt that he was going to get out of it."
• Moncada catches liner, gets ball stuck in glove
Abreu couldn't do enough on Wednesday for the White Sox, who lost a third straight to the Yankees and dropped to 41-73. Starter Lucas Giolito was staked to a 2-0 lead in the first but gave up six runs in the second, a rally punctuated by Giancarlo Stanton's grand slam down the right-field line. Giolito worked through five innings and 103 pitches, allowing seven runs on six hits and three walks, with seven strikeouts.
"I've had a few outings similar to this one. It always sucks," Giolito said. "But I felt really good, physically, it was just one really bad inning. All I can do is flush it and move on to the next one. My body feels good, stuff feels really good. Just keep grinding."
• An umpire had a moth pulled out of his ear
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Close, but not quite: The White Sox put two runners on with two outs against Chad Green in the eighth. Garcia worked the count full, with Nicky Delmonico waiting on deck as the potential tying run, but Garcia took a called third strike for the inning's final out. The pitch was close, but home-plate umpire Mike Estabrook had been calling the ball slightly up in the zone all game.
Giolito dropped to 3-5 with an 8.18 ERA over 12 starts at home this season.
HE SAID IT
"What matters the most is we are moving forward in this process of teaching the guys, developing the guys. We are on the right path. [We have to] keep grinding, keep learning and keep moving forward and push forward the new guys to try to do their best. We have a lot of talent, and I think it's going to be exciting to see this team play in the future." -- Abreu
Lefty Carlos Rodon (3-3, 2.94) makes his 11th start of the season and fifth at home in the series opener against the Indians on Friday, with a first pitch of 7:10 p.m. CT at Guaranteed Rate Field. Shane Bieber gets the call for the American League Central leaders.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.