Someone should tell Jose Abreu the White Sox are out of the pennant race this season.
The 29-year-old has transformed his OBP in the last month after reaching base safely in the last 29 consecutive games he’s started. On Friday, with Twins’ right-hander Kyle Gibson on the mound, Abreu rocked a line drive into center field during his first at-bat of the night and now sits just one game away from establishing a new franchise record:
Abreu is one game shy of matching the longest White Sox on-base streak of the 21st century. (Juan Pierre, 29 games in 2010)— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) September 2, 2016
It’s a positive turn for the Sox’ first baseman, who found himself mired in a hitting slump during the first half of 2016 and was staring at a .262/.325/.413 batting line heading into August. Notwithstanding his current on-base streak, FanGraphs still puts him at a career-worst mark of 0.8 Wins Above Replacement (fWAR), well below the 5.3 fWAR he carried in 2014.
Abreu credits White Sox assistant hitting coach Greg Sparks for getting him back on track this season, according to Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun Times.
Once he told me that we created a routine to take advantage of my hands. And the results have been there. He saw something, he told me and we started working on it on a daily basis. That’s been the key for me.
Will his adjustments at the plate be enough to dig the White Sox out of fourth place in the AL Central? Unlikely. But Abreu’s hitting like there’s no tomorrow, and no matter where his team ends up this season, that’s something to celebrate.