CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu didn't set any personal milestones, such as 100 career home runs, during an 8-2 White Sox victory over the Tigers on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.But if the White Sox first baseman hits with the same authority he has over the past seven games, those
CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu didn't set any personal milestones, such as 100 career home runs, during an 8-2 White Sox victory over the Tigers on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.
But if the White Sox first baseman hits with the same authority he has over the past seven games, those personal records will pile up quickly. It certainly shouldn't hurt the White Sox cause either.
"Right now, I'm feeling like I'm the Jose Abreu that people know, the Jose Abreu that can hit the ball, can square the ball," said Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo. "It's just a matter to keep working hard, keep doing my routine and my preparation."
Abreu singled in the first, third and fifth innings, raising his average to an even .300 overall. That number stands as a far cry from Abreu's .183 average a little over one month ago, on April 22.
His hitting streak reached seven games, with 16 hits in 33 at-bats during that run. Abreu has amassed nine hits over the past three games. These aren't hits barely blooping in or slightly eluding a fielder. The exit velocities, per Statcast™, on Abreu's three singles were 113.7 mph, 109.4 mph and 112.5 mph.
Even Abreu's line-drive out in the eighth had an exit velocity of 98.5 mph.
"Things you are seeing right now are the results of my work, especially in the cage with the hitting coach [Todd Steverson] and the assistant hitting coach [Greg Sparks]," Abreu said. "My approach in each at-bat, I think that's the key for me."
"He's locked in. He's in the zone, as they say. The proverbial zone," said White Sox manager Rick Renteria of Abreu. "He has been working really, really hard all season long, trying to find his stroke and trying to put himself in a position where he feels very focused."
Hard work has been a staple of Abreu's four seasons with the White Sox. He has a routine he follows on a daily basis, but has tweaked things with the help of Steverson and Sparks.
As the 2014 American League Rookie of the Year, Abreu hit .317 with 36 home runs, 107 RBIs and a .964 OPS. His numbers were good over the next two seasons, with Abreu producing at least 25 homers, 100 RBIs and a .290 average. But the '17 version of Abreu looks as dangerous as that first-year player.
"I'm starting to see a lot of what you guys saw over the previous couple of years, in terms of his approaches and how hard he hits the baseball," Renteria said. "Talking to the guys who have been here before I got here, they are elated, because this is what they saw out of him, obviously, his first couple of years in this go-around. We are happy that it's there."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.