Jose Abreu came into the majors not knowing how he would adjust to major league pitching. Even though it’s been only three regular season games, you can see that Abreu is adjusting quite well.
In his first ever at-bat against the Minnesota Twins on Monday, he hit a fastball on the outside corner of the plate that shot like a bullet into right field. The ball just kept on sailing and it went over the head of the right fielder. It was a one hopper off the wall for a stand-up double. Even though it was his first ever plate appearance, it’s a special sound when the ball comes off of his bat.
His second at-bat might have been his most impressive at-bat so far. In the third inning, with the pitch count at 2-1 and runners on second and third and one out, Abreu hit an inside pitch that went into left field for an RBI single. It was impressive because he had to bring his hands in to keep the ball fair. It is an adjustment that all baseball players make but for him to adjust right away in his first game shows the type of hitter that he is.
With the way the Twins pitched to him on Wednesday, they have already shown him the ultimate respect as a hitter. Abreu was intentionally walked in back-to-back plate appearances in the 9th and 11th innings. The Twins did not want any part of Abreu in the final innings and didn’t want him to be the hero of the night.
It ended up costing them in the 11th inning when they intentionally walked him with a man on third and two outs with the game tied. Adam Dunn drew a walk but the ball got away from the catcher Kurt Suzuki after a bad throw from Minnesota reliever Samuel Deduno and the Sox won on a walk-off wild pitch. If they would have pitched to Abreu in the 11th, the wild pitch might not have happened and they possibly could’ve gone to the 12th. The presence that Abreu brings is an x-factor because of the way pitchers are pitching to him.
In Thursday’s series finale, Abreu came up clutch with the game tied in the sixth. With the Sox scoring three in the fifth and one already in the sixth, the Sox were hoping to break the tie with Abreu coming up with the bases loaded.
The first two pitches that Abreu saw were sliders and he missed terribly, both were low and outside. On an 0-2 count, Abreu hit an 84 mph slider into deep center field. The ball went over Aaron Hicks’ head and it turned into a bases clearing double and the Sox took the lead 8-5. All three pitches in the at-bat were sliders and Abreu adjusted to the third one after mishandling the first two.
Through three games, Abreu is hitting .417 with zero home runs and five RBIs. Even though he hasn’t hit a home run, Abreu is showing that he can hit the ball to all fields and can adjust to pitchers even in the middle of an at-bat. Abreu is barely learning the pace of the big leagues and will only get better as the season moves along.