KANSAS CITY, Mo. – His strong push to the finish line has salvaged what was becoming his worst season into what will be another good one when the final numbers are tallied, but for Jose Abreu, this will be his third losing season in as many years in a major league uniform.
The frustration has been apparent before, and it was once again Monday afternoon after the Sox lost to the defending World Champion Royals 8-3. Abreu tipped his cap to the Royals, praising their desire to win, even in what has been a disappointing season for them. The Royals took three of four from the Sox and finished 14-5 against them this season, the most losses ever in one year by the Sox against their American League Central counterparts. In Abreu’s three seasons, the Royals are 39-18 against the Sox.
Abreu also, through interpreter Billy Russo, seemed to question the Sox’ desire to win, at least when it comes to playing Kansas City. Asked if the same type of desire exists in the Sox clubhouse, Abreu said, ‘No. … No.”
And how to get that?
“I don’t know,’’ Abreu said through translator Billy Russo. “I think it begins with me.’’
Monday’s loss began with starting pitchers Carlos Rodon, who gave up six runs for the second straight outing, and the Royals’ Yordano Ventura, who gave up a 431-foot home run to Abreu but pitched a complete game. Three of the eight hits Rodon allowed were home runs by Paulo Orlando, Kendrys Morales and Alcides Escobar.
“It’s a good ballclub with guys who have been in the game for a while and understand they need to make me throw pitches and get deep in counts,’’ Rodon said.
The Royals have now won seven straight series from the Sox, who are 255-341 against division teams since 2009.
Before the game, manager Robin Ventura was somewhat terse when asked about the Sox being eliminated from contention the day before.
“We’re just playing games right now,’’ said Ventura, whose contract is up after the season. “We’ve gone through the period of all that stuff [analysis] and they’re playing to win today’s game. That’s it. That’s all I can ask for right now. Not worried about looking back a month or fourth months. I want them to play for today.’’