José Abreu never really dreamed of being part of the Major League Baseball playoffs when he was a young man practicing his craft in Cuba. The White Sox leader and 2020 American League MVP Award candidate is more a live-in-the-moment sort of guy.
So while excitement was present for Abreu prior to his first postseason action following six losing seasons with the White Sox, it took a back seat to a calm, laser-like focus on the job at hand against the Athletics.
• Abreu slugs 2-run HR in first playoff action
|Gm 1||Sept. 29||3 p.m.||CWS @ OAK||ESPN|
|Gm 2||Sept. 30||3 p.m.||CWS @ OAK||ESPN|
|Gm 3*||Oct. 1||TBD||CWS @ OAK||ESPN/TBS|
*- If necessary | All times ET
Shop for postseason gear: White Sox | A’s
• Postseason schedule and bracket
“It's simple, just try to control what you can control. Don't try to do too much,” Abreu said through interpreter Billy Russo. “If you take care of the little things, at the end of the day you'll have the results.
“Don't try to think ahead. Go there every day and that's my approach. I won't change that. Right now that we're here, my message for everybody, for all the guys here is, ‘Hey, let's enjoy this moment. Let's enjoy every day and let's try to have fun. Let's try to do what we know we can do.’”
When it comes to any sort of emotion relating to his playoff debut, Abreu once again spoke of his mother, Daysi, and her reaction.
“My biggest emotion will be what my mother thinks of me, because I know she will be watching the game and she will be very proud and very happy,” Abreu said. “Just having that thought will be the greatest feeling that I can feel in that moment on the field.”
• Eloy on roster, available off bench in Gm 1
Keuchel ready for Game 2
Dallas Keuchel takes his 1.99 ERA over 11 starts during his exceptional first season with the White Sox into Game 2 of the Wild Card Series on Wednesday. He also brings 12 games (11 starts) of postseason experience and wisdom.
“Ultimately, it comes down to pitching at this point in time, and if we score five runs, that's going to be very nice,” Keuchel said. “But as much as I love our lineup, from previous postseason experience, it usually comes down to the pitching and defense.”
“It’s pretty cool. It’s special,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “He’s been there before. Hopefully, it’s a good moment. He’s been through it all. That certainly will give him a step up.”
Keuchel allowed two runs (one earned) in all of September, but the lefty also missed time due to back spasms after throwing five shutout innings on 49 pitches at Kansas City on Sept. 6. He worked his way to six innings and 93 pitches during his last outing on Sept. 24 in Cleveland.
“We'll go inning by inning here in the playoffs,” Keuchel said. “But it's nice, mentally, to have that comfort zone, knowing that the body is going to let me go as long as it really needs to.
“I take great pride in all my work that I do. Everything that I do is meant to provide for the team when I’m on the mound. I told the young guys that, too.”
Third to first
• Right-handed reliever Steve Cishek was released by the White Sox. Left-handed reliever Ross Detwiler elected free agency. Both veteran pitchers were designated for assignment when Aaron Bummer and Carlos Rodón returned.
• The White Sox haven’t won a postseason series since sweeping the Astros for their 2005 World Series championship. The A’s haven’t won a playoff round since 2006, when they swept the Twins in the AL Division Series. White Sox Hall of Famer Frank Thomas hit two homers in that ALDS victory for Oakland.
• With a 17-13 road record in 2020, the White Sox tied with Cleveland for the second-best mark in the AL.
They said it
“It don't matter. They put their pants on just like we do. They're human, as well. But we're familiar with these guys, we played them last year and the year before. So I don't think it's anything different. We're just going to approach them like any other team and do our homework and go out and compete.” — shortstop Tim Anderson, on facing the A’s for the first time this season in the playoffs
“We took care of the teams we needed to this shortened season, and we fought with the teams that we needed to fight with. This is the real season. At the same time, all of us in there are calm and collected and actually having a lot more fun at 9 a.m. than I ever thought we would.” — Keuchel, on his confidence in the White Sox chances for playoff success