In Detroit's first meeting with the White Sox this season, Jose Abreu ripped two home runs to dead center at Comerica Park, clearing the wall 420 feet from home plate. Few players, save two-time reigning MVP Miguel Cabrera, have the power to go deep to that part of the the park, let alone in back-to-back games.
Needless to say, the Tigers came away from that series earlier this month impressed with the White Sox rookie first baseman.
"Yeah, there's not a lot of people who are going to reach those bushes in center field," manager Brad Ausmus said. "He did it twice in a series. So he's obviously a strong human."
Added outfielder Torii Hunter, shaking his head: "That was unbelievable. Two days in a row?"
Entering Tuesday night, Abreu has 10 home runs, 32 RBIs and a .968 OPS, but what impressed Hunter (and Rays manager Joe Maddon) is how well so many other guys in the White Sox lineup are hitting around Abreu. The White Sox have three other players with an OPS over .900 entering Tuesday: Alexei Ramirez (.941), Dayan Viciedo (.937) and Adam Dunn (.914).
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Hunter said it's not a coincidence that those guys are hitting so well around Abreu, given how his presence can throw off an opposing pitcher.
"I think one guy in the lineup can change everything," Hunter said. "I'm not saying as far as him hitting 50 home runs or anything, but him who he is. And they're probably comfortable with him."
No team has scored more runs than the White Sox (150) heading into Tuesday's games, an average of five and a half runs per game. Last year, the Sox offense -- comprised of many of these same players save for Abreu, Adam Eaton and Marcus Semien -- averaged 3.7 runs per game. That total of 150 runs is about 25 percent of how many the Sox scored last year (598) in about 17 percent of the games played.
And players for Detroit -- which began Tuesday atop the AL Central with a 12-9 record -- certainly have taken notice.
"Don't sleep on these guys," Hunter said. "These guys are power hitters in the right ballpark."