- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
José Abreu laughed while pondering whether August was his favorite month to hit.
The numbers make a strong case.
Abreu has a .334/.389/.606 slash line with 58 doubles, 58 home runs, 172 RBIs, 146 runs and a .995 OPS in 219 career games in August.
The 58 home runs are 17 more than any other month (41 in May). His 172 RBIs are 29 more (143 in May), and his .995 OPS is .152 higher (.843 in July).
His 172 August RBIs since 2014 are the most in the majors.
“I think it’s just the work because my body feels good,” Abreu said through an interpreter Thursday afternoon at Globe Life Field. “But this time of the season, my body always feels good. I hope that I can carry that into the future and keep feeling good and healthy as I have been in August.
“There’s not a key for me, just work.”
He’s 5-for-16 with two home runs and six RBIs in the team’s first four games this month. To be fair, Abreu’s recent tear started well earlier.
He’s slashing .374/.425/.568 with 12 doubles, five home runs, 23 RBIs and 11 walks in his last 36 games. Abreu has 17 multihit performances during that stretch, hitting safely in 32 of those games and reaching base safely in 34.
“I don’t know how I’m feeling right now, but I will say I won’t be tired from working hard to get the results I want to get,” Abreu said.
Abreu, 35, entered Friday’s game against the Texas Rangers slashing .302/.383/.477 with 14 home runs and 55 RBIs this season.
“He’s a phenomenal hitter,” Sox first baseman/outfielder Andrew Vaughn said earlier this week. “Seriously one of the best in the league. Just to watch him go day in and day out. He struggled the first month of the year, and everybody is like ‘Hold on, just wait. It’s (Abreu). He’s going to come back.’ ... He’s just doing his thing.”
Abreu’s 135 weighted runs-created plus (wRC+), according to fangraphs.com, ranks 11th in the American League. The stat estimates a player’s offensive contribution in total runs and adjusts that number to account for external factors such as ballpark and era. The major-league average is 100, meaning Abreu is 35% above that.
Abreu leads the AL with 119 hits and leads the Sox in doubles (27, sixth in the AL), home runs, RBIs, walks (48), slugging and OPS (.860, eighth in the AL). The 48 walks are 13 shy of tying his career high of 61 in 2021.
“He’s hitting good and I hope he keeps doing that because it helps the team,” left fielder Eloy Jiménez said earlier this week. “He’s working hard. If you are working hard, something like that is going to happen.”
Sox manager Tony La Russa praised Abreu’s preparation.
“He was out here, he, Eloy and (catcher Yasmani Grandal) off the machine probably hit a hundred balls apiece,” La Russa said Thursday. “His work ethic and his competitive fire is as good as anybody I’ve ever been around. He’s tough, very, very tough.”
While Abreu has spent most of the season at first base (83 games), he has seen more time at designated hitter (20) than he did all of last season (18). He has been productive in both roles, slashing .294/.372/.462 in 358 plate appearances while slotted at first and .333/.429/.539 in 91 plate appearances as the DH.
“I think he knows, (it) benefits him and benefits us,” La Russa said.
The Sox hope it continues as they try to track down the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Guardians in the American League Central. The Sox entered Friday in third place, two games behind the division-leading Twins and one game back of the Guardians.
“We are a good team,” Abreu said. “We know that. Our goal has to be trying to stay healthy. If we stay healthy and we stay on the field, we know we are going to be good.
“Our mindset, let’s give it all to these (57) games to see what happens. Let’s do our best. Let’s work hard together. We’ll see at the end. That’s our mindset right now.”