Jul 1, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) during the ninth inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
White Sox Players to Watch
Jose Abreu was seven for 16 with two doubles and two homers when the Red Sox were pounded by the White Sox offense who took three out of four from Boston in that series at the end of July. After 36 homers in his rookie season, Abreu’s numbers fell somewhat in the first half, notching 14 homers with an OPS of .835 compared to last year’s .964. Abreu’s success in Boston was part of second half resurgence. He has hit nine homers since the break with an OPS of .927. His 76 RBI might be slightly down from last year, but with his second half comeback, he could reach last year’s total of 107. Keeping him in check will be a major goal of Red Sox pitching. Abreu has enjoyed Red Sox pitching in his brief career, torching them for a .357/.438/.690 batting line with three homers in 48 career plate appearances.
After last year’s .817 OPS, the White Sox were certainly expecting more out of Adam LaRoche who has struggled to a .213/.298/.357 batting line with 12 homers and 42 RBI after signing a two year $25 million contract with the White Sox in the offseason. He was not a part of most of the White Sox hit parade at Fenway last month, sitting out two of the games and going one for eight with an RBI when he did play. The White Sox have given him more days off in the second half to try to get him going to no avail, as his numbers have slipped even more since the All-Star Break, posting just a .189/.215/.315 in that time. Considering Abreu’s recent success, the Red Sox will probably pitch around Abreu to get to LaRoche and force him to beat them. Over his career, Boston has held LaRoche to a .125/.211/.188 batting line over 64 career plate appearances with just one home run against them.
In July, Melky Cabrera was in the best stretch of his season, batting .393 with a 1.017 OPS for July, when he owned the Boston pitching staff over that four game set, going nine for 19 with five doubles, a triple, three RBI and five runs scored in the White Sox series win. He has cooled off considerably lately. Over the last week he is just three for 26. Hopefully the Red Sox can hold him in check for this three game set. In his career vs. Boston, Cabrera has an .802 OPS with eight homers and 52 RBI in 425 career plate appearances.