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In this edition of “Fun with Numbers,” a look at August Jose Abreu, why you shouldn’t skip watching the 2nd and 5th inning, and how the White Sox don’t make for a good underdog.
The Mystic of August Jose Abreu
Jose Abreu was having a fine season on July 31, but a step down from his MVP performance last season. Hitting .244/.334/.453, for most of 2021, it looked like Abreu’s 2018 season before it got cut short due to injury. That 2018 campaign is the only sub-.800 OPS of Abreu’s impressive career with the White Sox.
Alas, August arrived, and Abreu has found another gear. I liken it to the Greek god Zeus. For whatever reason, come the eighth month on the Gregorian calendar August Jose Abreu descends from the heavens to smite all pitchers that dare stand in his way. While his career slash line is very good at .290/.349/.516, Abreu is hitting .332/.388/.598 for his career in August.
Although Abreu played seven games in July 2020, he entered that August hitting .250/.300/.429 with one home run and three RBI. His MVP campaign launched after hitting 11 home runs and 29 RBI in 2020 August. After driving in four runs, including a three-run homer, in the White Sox 5-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on August 24, Abreu has eight home runs and 19 RBI this August. With five games remaining, Abreu will need some big hits to match his monthly home run and RBI total from last year. Lucky for him, the Chicago Cubs are visiting this weekend.
This month’s slash line of .308/.360/.615 has picked up Abreu’s season numbers to .257/.339/.486, and once again, the White Sox slugger is leading MLB in RBI with 96. If Abreu can win another RBI title, he’ll join Cecil Fielder as the last hitter to lead the American League in RBI three straight seasons. Fielder accomplished the feat with Detroit from 1990 to 1992.
Don’t Skip the 2nd and 5th inning
It looks like another packed house at Guaranteed Rate Field for the Crosstown Classic this weekend. If you are planning on attending, know that the White Sox are still short-staffed, asking for help from Milwaukee. Trying to pick your spots for a concession or bathroom run has been challenging for home weekend games, but avoid being in line during the 2nd and 5th innings.
That’s because the 2021 Chicago White Sox, as of August 26, lead MLB in average runs scored in the 2nd inning at 0.69 runs. They are second in MLB in average runs scored in the 5th inning at 0.72 runs. White Sox pitching leads the American League in the lowest average runs allowed in the 5th inning at 0.35. Those are the money innings this season for the White Sox.
For the betting folks, the White Sox look great in the first five innings of games. Starting the 6th inning, it gets a bit dicey and drops off in the 7th and 8th innings. This dropoff is not surprising for White Sox fans who have been watching daily. The bullpen bridge building to Liam Hendriks has been suspect, but the bats also go silent. A bad combination in closing out games.
Make your beer run before the game (always buy two) and in the sixth inning when the vibes are high. You’ll need that extra beer if the game is tight heading to the ninth inning.
The Chicago White Sox Are Not a Good Underdog
Many sportsbooks have the Chicago White Sox as a slight underdog before Carlos Rodon takes the mound in his return off the Injured List. Looking at the trends from TeamRankings.com, being an underdog is not a good thing for the White Sox in 2021.
- As Underdog: 8-20
- As Away Underdog: 4-16
To counter the bad underdog luck, the White Sox are 34-20 after a loss this season.