‘We’re in this as a team, get out of it as team,’ Jose Abreu says before latest White Sox loss
Pressing isn’t the issue for White Sox, Abreu said. Playing well is another matter. ‘The numbers speak for themselves.’
The White Sox got into their current funk as a team and they’ll only get out of one way.
As a team.
So says Jose Abreu, a team leader who has been through more rough stretches during his nine-year career than he cares to recall.
A 7-12 start to a season that brimmed with postseason aspirations is a different animal, though. The Sox’ 5-1 loss to the Angels Friday before 23,709 rained-on fans at Guaranteed Rate Field was their 10th in 11 games. They aren’t hitting, they made the major league leading 21st error Friday and the pitching has taken its share of responsibility, too.
“The numbers, the stats, they speak for themselves,” Abreu told the Sun-Times through translator Billy Russo before the game. “We’re passing through a very tough moment, as a whole team. There is no magic answer. The only thing we should do is get out of this as a team. Swing at strikes, have good at-bats.
“We’re in this as a team. Get out of it as a team.”
Hammering home the point of sticking together begged a question. This team is together, right?
“We’re united,” Abreu said. “Listen, I understand what people might say, that maybe we’re not. But that’s not the case. Things just aren’t going our way right now. And it’s no secret we’re missing key players [to injuries]. When the losses pile up, you can feel down. But that doesn’t mean we’re not united. We are. We’re humans, too, and we have feelings. We’re going to get out of this as a unit.”
Friday wasn’t the night. The Sox had three hits and walked once after entering with a .186/.238/.292 hitting line and averaging 2.4 runs over the previous 13 games. They were last in the majors with 38 walks, last in on-base percentage at .263 and 26th with a .608 OPS. Abreu’s single with two outs in the seventh snapped a streak of 18 Sox retired in a row by four Angels pitchers.
“Maybe we’re being overly aggressive,” Abreu said. “But we have to figure out a way to get out of that. Maybe one way is to be smart. Swing at good pitches.”
Angels leadoff hitter Taylor Ward and Shohei Ohtani homered against Lucas Giolito in the first. Tim Anderson doubled and scored on an error in the first, cutting the lead in half against Jimmy Herget, who started a bullpen game after Noah Syndergaard was scratched due to a non-COVID related illness.
Abreu, batting .212 with two homers, smashed into a 106.7 mph double-play one-hopper to end the first. He was robbed on a catch by Trout at the right-center field fence to end the fourth.
Abreu has had a hand in the majors-worst defense with two errors and failing to scoop a few low throws he knows he should have had this season. Not coming up with Josh Harrison’s one-hop throw — granted, a tough play on both ends — probably cost Giolito (six innings, three runs, seven strikeouts) a run in the sixth.
Anderson not stopping catcher Grandal’s throw near the bag that skipped into center field for an error on the catcher on Ohtani’s stolen base in the eighth led to the Angels’ fourth run. Jared Walsh doubled Ohtani home.
“We’ve made more miscues than we want to make,” Abreu said. “But that doesn’t define us. We’re a much better defensive team than we’ve shown. It’s one of those funky slumps we’re in.”
Abreu isn’t buying into manager Tony La Russa’s and hitting coach Frank Menechino’s contention that the team is pressing. Abreu suggested the Sox simply aren’t having good at-bats and not making the plays in the field.
“We all respect Tony and his opinion. I’m not going to contradict him — maybe he’s right,” Abreu said. “But it’s just a matter of working. Once we get in a groove, we’ll be OK.”
The Sox brought the tying run to the plate with two out against Raisel Iglesias but Luis Robert fouled out with the bases loaded.