Jun 27, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu hits a home run in the fifth inning against Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Abreu Doesn’t Need the HR Derby, the Derby Needs Him


At the halfway mark of the 2014 season, Chicago White Sox slugger Jose Abreu has taken Major League Baseball by storm. The 27-year-old from Cruces, Cuba has not showed any signs of slowing down from his record-breaking start to his major league career.

Friday night was a perfect example of why Jose Abreu is a $68 million man.

In a 5-4 White Sox victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, Abreu homered twice in back-to-back at-bats in the fifth and seventh innings. In a 2-for-3 night at the plate, Abreu raised his batting average to .280 and drove in his 62nd and 63rd runs of the season.

Fellow Cubans Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo had big nights across the border in Toronto on Friday as well. Ramirez and Viciedo each homered in the Sox win. The two-run home run for Ramirez in the seventh inning drove in his first two runs since May 26th (a string of 114 consecutive plate appearances).

“The Cubans played great tonight,” Danks said. “I’m glad (Abreu is) on my team. I’m glad I don’t have to face him. He’s a great teammate. He’s a heck of a ballplayer and I’m happy he’s here for a while.”

-John Danks on Alexei Ramirez, Jose Abreu and Dayan Viciedo’s performances on Friday, CSNChicago.com

John Danks had himself a nice bounce-back outing after struggling this past Sunday in Minneapolis against the Twins. In six innings of work, Danks gave up two earned runs (both solo home runs) on five hits, did not walk a hitter and struck out two on 110 pitches (73 pitches).

What was bad for Danks was great for Blue Jays designated hitter (and former Chicago Cub) Dioner Navarro. In Navarro’s last five plate appearances against Danks, Navarro has taken Danks yard three times.

The White Sox about gave another game away on Friday with three pitching changes in the bottom of the ninth inning. Ronald Belisario began the ninth for the Sox and in typical Belisario fashion as of late, he gave up a home run before recording an out.

 

After replacing Belisario for a lefty-lefty match-up, recent White Sox call-up Erik Surkamp got a potential double play ground-ball that was hit to Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie. A slight bobble by Gillaspie loaded the bases and forced White Sox manager Robin Ventura’s hand. Ventura brought in Jake Petricka to try and finally seal the deal.

Petricka got a pair of ground-balls to end the game and seal just the second win for the White Sox in the last nine games.

The third game of the four-game set between the White Sox and Blue Jays takes place on Saturday afternoon in Toronto. Sox ace Chris Sale will get the call for the Good Guys, who are an astonishing 0-12 on Saturdays this season. Toronto sends right-hander Marcus Stroman to the hill. First pitch is scheduled for 12:07 CT.

 

White Sox Notes:

  • Alexei Ramirez will finally get a day off on Saturday afternoon. Ramirez has played in all 81 games until Saturday’s game in Toronto.

 

Tags: Alexei Ramirez Chicago White Sox Chris Sale Dayan Viciedo Erik Surkamp Jake Petricka John Danks Jose Abreu Mlb Ronald Belisario