WARR baseball writer Kevin Luchansky writes about the Cubs and the White Sox each week
Also, check out Kevin’s daily baseball betting picks on NorthSideWire.
The Chicago White Sox relied on their recently potent offense and Chris Sale dominance to rattle off three straight wins against division rival Twins to start the weekend and they look to keep it going today with rookie Scott Carol on the bump in the series finale in Minneapolis.
These recent wins have created some separation from the Twins in the standings and now, at 51-54, the Sox are just a half-game behind the Indians, and more importantly, four games out of an American League Wild Card spot.
Aside from Sale, no player has been a bigger producer in the Sox’s recent win streak than rookie slugger Jose Abreu. During his current 16-game hitting streak, Abreu is hitting .348 with 10 extra base hits and three home runs. The home runs placed Abreu in sole possession of the MLB lead with 30 and at roughly 65 percent of the way through the season, he has already totaled 3.3 Wins Above Replacement.
Everything Old, New Again
As I watched the Hall of Fame induction ceremony this morning, filled with Frank Thomas highlights, I couldn’t help but think Chicago might be entering a golden age for sluggers. Leading their respective divisions in home runs with 30 and 25 respectively, Abreu and the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo have put Chicago baseball back in the limelight, even in a season in which both teams are under.500.
A look into Abreu’s splits reveals a little more as to how he’s already totaled some of those impressive numbers. For starters, Abreu loves hitting to the opposite field, as highlighted by his .413 batting average in that category.
Abreu also provides almost the entirety of his power when facing right-handed pitching, with 23 of his 30 home runs and 19 of his 24 doubles resulting from at-bats against righties.
Interestingly, Abreu hits for a better average at home (.301) as compared to the road (.284), but 19 of his 30 home runs have been hit away from US Cellular Field, which is generally considered one of the more home run friendly stadiums across Major League Baseball.
It’s premature to think Abreu could put together a career like the Big Hurt, but as a kid who grew up in the ’90s, I can’t help but think of them both when I hear something along the lines of “sweet swinging, home run-hitting first basemen.”
The highlight clips from Cooperstown also reminded me how, as fans, we need to enjoy Abreu’s chase for the home run title, as players and chases like these don’t come around too often. The White Sox haven’t had a home run champion since Dick Allen in 1972. Thomas was often in the chase, but never won it, with his closest finish a second place one in 1994 as Ken Griffey, Jr. took the crown.
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