Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field: Abreu hit, Keuchel grit and Sox split
Abreu was out of the lineup for the second game against the Mariners, but bullpen gets the job done.
On Saturday, manager Tony La Russa said that Jose Abreu put his hand on a baseball and swore he was healthy enough to play. The accumulated bumps and bruises of the season had not been enough to sit him down.
A day later, a 96 mph sinker from Mariners pitcher JT Chargois hit Abreu’s left knee and took him out in the sixth inning of the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader. X-rays were negative and Abreu was listed as day to day.
He was out of the lineup for the second game, leaving his status in question for the start of this week’s series with the Twins.
“He got hit in a really tender spot,” La Russa said. “I think you gotta wait and see tomorrow how it is 24 hours later.”
Abreu was visibly in a lot of pain after the hit by pitch. He collapsed at the plate and at one point threw his helmet to the grass behind home. Fans chanted “MVP” as trainers helped him to his feet, and he had to be assisted to the locker room, unable to put weight on his left leg.
Even amidst a .183 slump in June, Abreu is seen as the backbone of the Sox’ offense, so a prolonged absence could only exacerbate the rough stretch they’re having.
“It sucks to have [Abreu] go down like that,” pitcher Ryan Burr said. “But our guys prepare every day to be ready for something like this happening. It’s a long season. Stuff like this is going to happen. We hope Pito gets better soon.”
After splitting the doubleheader with a 3-2 loss in Game 1 and a 7-5 win in Game 2, the Sox are 12-11 this the month and 2-7 in their last nine games.
La Russa made the decision to use Dallas Keuchel, his regularly scheduled starter for Sunday, as his “starter” for the resumption of the suspended game from Saturday. Because the game picked up in the bottom of the third inning, it was technically a relief appearance for Keuchel.
“We spent some time going through all the different alternatives,” La Russa said. “One of the things we looked at was this is Dallas’ day to start, if he starts and does his usual game, that takes us deep into the first one and you play the second one depending on what happened in the first one.”
Picking up from Saturday’s rainout with the fourth inning, Keuchel pitched five innings, allowing two runs on a pair of solo homers to Taylor Trammell and Ty France. With the game tied 2-2 in the ninth, La Russa went with closer Liam Hendriks, who gave up a game-winning home run to Trammell.
“[I] would have liked to have gone that ninth inning,” Keuchel said. “I thought at this time in my tenure here, I thought I deserved it.”
Keuchel’s outing freed La Russa to use a host of arms in the second game. Burr tossed two perfect innings, and Garrett Crochet, Evan Marshall, Codi Heuer and Aaron Bummer combined to no-hit the Mariners until Mitch Haniger singled off of Jimmy Lambert to lead off the sixth inning. Lambert gave up a three-run homer to Haniger in the seventh that brought the Mariners within two runs. Hendriks had to come in for his second appearance of the day and earned his 20th save.
In the second game, Zack Collins and Yermin Mercedes combined for all seven runs batted in, production the Sox will need if Abreu is out for a while.
“With that tough loss, what did we do, we rebounded and played a spirited game,” La Russa said. “So like I say, our hearts are good, we’re tough enough. Just gotta keep improving, getting better and better.”