Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson show promising signs but White Sox fall to Yankees

Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson show promising signs but White Sox fall to Yankees

NEW YORK — The good that emerged from Wednesday night's 9-1 loss to the New York Yankees didn't provide the White Sox with much immediate help.

But the fact that Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu both put together a series of good at-bats, including the latter's most complete offensive game of the season, could be critical for the White Sox in the days ahead. Abreu doubled twice and produced his first three-hit game of the season and Anderson also doubled and lined out to deep center in the losing effort.

Their collective efforts weren't enough, however, to keep up with the Yankees, who blasted three home runs off Rule 5 selection Dylan Covey in the series finale. Covey allowed eight earned runs and 10 hits in five innings.

"(Abreu) had a completely different outlook today for whatever reason and it just happens that way," manager Rick Renteria said. "Some good at-bats. So did Timmy. We had a few good at-bats in there, a couple situations we didn't capitalize on. It was one of those games that got away from us."

The White Sox offense has been very hit and miss early this season. They've provided runs by the barrel full in a few games and minimal production in others.

One reason for those struggles is the early slumps of Anderson and Abreu, two of their more prominent performers. Anderson entered Wednesday's finale with a .389 OPS and Abreu was at just .380. In short, neither has provided much for an offense that entered Wednesday ranked 13th among 15 American League teams with 48 runs scored.

But both looked sharp against Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka.

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Abreu — who Tuesday said he was merely looking to make solid contact once again — started early with a double down the left-field line past a diving Chase Headley.

"Right now we're just working on trying to gain that confidence at the plate, because right now I don't feel it," Abreu said through an interpreter on Tuesday. "That's a process you have to pass through to get it again. That's why we're working right now.

"Right now, I'm not making any contact with the ball."

The slugger made plenty on Wednesday night.

Down 4-0 in the fourth, Abreu followed a leadoff double by Anderson with a booming one-out double of his own to produce the only White Sox RBI. The ball exited Abreu's bat at 109.3 mph, according to MLB.com.

"It was a while from the last time I heard that sound when I hit the ball," Abreu said Wednesday. "Besides the loss, I think it was a good game for me. I hit the ball the way I used to do it and that's a step forward."

Abreu also hit an outside pitch in the sixth inning for a hard single into right field. Abreu finished the contest 3-for-4, his fourth multi-hit game of the season but first since Thursday at Cleveland. He also made an outstanding defensive play to end the second inning with a diving grab to start an unassisted double play.

Anderson has shown little signs throughout the Yankees series he's about to break out. His fourth-inning double off Tanaka would have gone for a solo home run in most ballparks. But he settled for a double high off the left-field fence despite a 102.8-mph exit velocity.

Two innings later, Anderson lined another fastball to dead center only to have Jacoby Ellsbury track it down near the fence. The ball exited Anderson's bat at 102.1 mph, an outcome that normally produces a hit 79 percent of the time, according to Baseball Savant. Anderson finished 1-for-4 but still raised his batting average on balls in play to .200, which is well short of the .375 he hit in 2016 and what he routinely produced in the minor leagues. Those factors would suggest Anderson is due for a market correction at the plate, which would be extremely beneficial to the 7-7 White Sox.

But it didn't amount to much on Wednesday.

Covey allowed a double and a two-run Chase Headley homer in the first, and yielded two more runs on two hits in the second inning. Starlin Castro tattooed a 3-0 fastball from Covey for a three-run homer in the fifth inning before Aaron Judge crushed a hanging curve 448 feet for a solo shot and an 8-1 lead.

"Obviously today didn't go the way I wanted it to go," Covey said. "But you kind of have to take it like it is and learn from the mistakes. Come back (Friday) and put work in to get better. Just get better with all my pitches."

Last-place White Sox ready to trade, but only if the right offer arises

Last-place White Sox ready to trade, but only if the right offer arises

That the White Sox lost their fourth consecutive game doesn’t change the big picture plans of the franchise, which probably — but not definitely — will involve making at least one trade before the end of July.

Before the White Sox lost, 6-5, to the New York Yankees Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field, general manager Rick Hahn met with the media and delivered the same message he’s had since trading away Chris Sale and Adam Eaton in December. The White Sox are open for business, and would like to make a number of moves to further bolster their farm system, but won’t make a trade if they don’t receive what they view to be a fair return.

“Would I be surprised (if we didn’t make a trade)? No, because I try not to be surprised by the dynamics of this market,” Hahn said. “Would I be mildly disappointed? Sure. We are here to try to improve this club.

“We feel we have certain first and desirable players that would help other clubs and may fit better on their competitive windows then they do on ours right now. And we intend to be active each day in trying to further accomplish what we set out to do a year ago at this time.

“But do we have to do it? No. That would be using an artificial spot on the calendar to force decision-making. That would be the last thing we need to do. We need to take a long term view of what we are trying to accomplish.”

Hahn didn’t name names, but Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera, David Robertson could be short-term fixes for contending clubs. Jose Quintana, who will start Tuesday against the Yankees, remains the team’s most valuable trade chip despite a 4.69 ERA that sits over run higher than his career average.

Frazier homered Monday and entered the game hitting .262/.351/.524 since Memorial Day. Cabrera similarly has found success after a slow start, slashing a healthy .324/.375/.482 in his previous 34 games before picking up two hits in four at-bats Monday. And Robertson, who’s been linked to the relief-starved Washington Nationals for months, has 41 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings with 11 saves.

“We want to be able to do as much as we can in our power to get this team to where it needs to be,” Hahn said. “Yes, there’s an element of competitiveness involved in that. There’s an element of patience involved in that. But at the end of the day, we have to — we get paid to be prudent in our decision making. We have to make the right decision.”

In the meantime, the White Sox looked the part of a rebuilding team with the worst record in the American League on Monday. Starter David Holmberg struggled, allowing six runs on five hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings — but only two of those runs were earned thanks to errors by Holmberg, Frazier and Matt Davidson.

As the Yankees took advantage of those miscues with three runs in both the fourth and sixth innings, Jordan Montgomery retired nine consecutive White Sox batters and went on to cruise with eight strikeouts over seven innings. The White Sox – as they’ve done quite a bit this year – still showed fight late, battling back in the ninth inning.

Tim Anderson ripped a three-run home run in the ninth inning off Yankees left-hander Chasen Shreve to bring the White Sox within two. Joe Girardi quickly turned to Aroldis Chapman, who allowed a run when Jose Abreu doubled home Melky Cabrera. But the tying run was stranded on second when Avisail Garcia grounded out and Frazier flew out to end the game.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Top pick Jake Burger can't wait to someday take a bite out of Chicago; When will Sox trades begin?

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Top pick Jake Burger can't wait to someday take a bite out of Chicago; When will Sox trades begin?

After taking batting practice for the first time with the White Sox, number-one pick Jake Burger sat down with Chuck Garfien to talk about getting drafted by his favorite team, what it was like getting a phone call from Paul Konerko, why he wants to be a leader like Jonathan Toews, playing on Team USA with Seth Beer and more.  

Then CSN's Dan Hayes joins Garfien to discuss the return of Carlos Rodon, when the White Sox might start making trades, and Rick Renteria's short temper with umpires.   

Listen here to ketchup with top prospect Jake Burger: