Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu has consistently beamed about the team’s potential in recent seasons, always promising a resurgence was on the way.
With the White Sox toting a six-game winning streak into Wednesday’s interleague home game against the Milwaukee Brewers — fueled by Abreu’s leadership and a young, jelling core — that optimism has remained close at hand.
“It’s always good to be around this team we have right now, this group,” Abreu told reporters through an interpreter. “A lot of energy and passion that motivates you more every day.”
Still, the seventh-year veteran cautions the White Sox to remain diligent as they push for the team’s first postseason berth in more than a decade.
While early August typically signifies the beginning of the stretch run during most baseball seasons, it merely falls at the start of a 60-game sprint in this one.
“We can’t get too comfortable,” Abreu said. “We need to do our job and keep working because we need to get more results. This is no time, by any means, to get comfortable and think we are a finished product. We need to keep working.”
Chicago earned a sweep of the first leg of this week’s encounter with the Brewers, defeating Milwaukee 3-2 at Miller Park on Tuesday after Monday’s 6-4 win.
The pair of games — the Brewers’ first contests at home this season — marked the first action for Milwaukee since July 29, as the team’s scheduled series against the St. Louis Cardinals over the previous weekend was postponed because the Cardinals were grappling with a coronavirus outbreak amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s nice to have a routine,” Brewers pitcher Brett Anderson said. “But the way 2020 is going, you kind of have to be comfortable being uncomfortable.”
Losers of three of their last four, the Brewers will look to right-hander Adrian Houser to help slow the streaking White Sox.
Houser (0-0, 1.80 ERA) is aiming to build on a solid start against the White Sox on July 22 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, when he scattered one run and two hits in 4 2/3 innings in a 77-pitch exhibition tune-up two days before Opening Day.
Houser has not faced the White Sox during the regular season and is 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA in seven career interleague appearances, including four starts.
Seeking to continue his hot start, White Sox lefty Dallas Keuchel (2-0, 3.38 ERA) is set to get the call for Chicago.
Keuchel has allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings in each of his first two outings this season, but traditionally has struggled against the Brewers, pitching to an 0-4 record and 8.75 ERA in five career starts.
Brewers right fielder Christian Yelich went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk Tuesday and is batting .088 for the season. Center fielder Avisail Garcia, who played for the White Sox, has four hits and three RBIs in his past three games.
Meanwhile, Chicago is clicking behind the top of its order. With usual leadoff man Tim Anderson on the injured list with a right groin strain, the White Sox Nos. 1-4 hitters — Luis Robert, Yoan Moncada, Abreu and Yasmani Grandal — are batting a combined .403 (29-for-72) with three home runs and 14 RBIs in the past four games.
Chicago second baseman Nick Madrigal and designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion, who both left Tuesday’s game with left shoulder soreness, are set to be evaluated Wednesday.
–Field Level Media