'Made a statement': Bregman tests Astros' 21-run jump-off

‘Made a statement’: Bregman tests Astros’ 21-run jump-off

CHICAGO — The way Alex Bregman waved the bat over the past month has revived thoughts of the 2019 season, when Bregman led one of the best fouls in major league history and flirted with winning the American League Most Valuable Player Award.

Injuries to his hamstring in 2020 and quad and wrist in ’21 led to bad habits in his mechanics, which Bregman has worked tirelessly to correct. He’s still not where he wants to be, but a healthy Bregman continued his rise in the second half by going 4-for-6 with four runs scored, two doubles, two home runs and a career-high six RBIs in the Astros pounding 21-5 of the White Sox on Thursday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“I know everyone always says 2018 or 2019, but I think every year is different, and I’m definitely trying to go back to the mechanics I had those two years,” he said. “The previous two I was mechanically not the same. My front hip was wide open and it made me twist and cut off the baseball instead of staying through and riding in it. We have worked hard this year and many people have helped me work in the cage. It’s been good to be more consistent in recent months.”

Bregman and outfielder Chas McCormick (3-for-6, five RBI’s) combined for 11 runs, while the Astros tied a club record with 25 hits. The 21 points are equal for the second most in club history, trailing the 23 they scored against the Orioles on August 10, 2019. That was also the only time the Astros had 25 hits in a game before.

“You have to locate, and I didn’t,” said White Sox starter Lucas Giolito. “A lot of fastballs trying to go in and miss the middle, that sort of thing — and they didn’t miss. Gave a lot of runs.”

Astros-outfielder Kyle Tucker and catcher Christian Vázquez both went 4-for-6 and joined Bregman in the club with four hits.

“We have made a statement. We made an insane statement,” McCormick said. “We have a good attack. They are a good team. We were a bit upset that they beat us the first two times. We got a good win [Wednesday], and when we came in today, we wanted to make sure we didn’t lose the series. We did a good job hitting and it showed what our attack is like today. ”

That’s what Bregman’s name is lately:

Since July 21 (27 games): .343/.404/.667, seven home runs, 26 RBIs, 11 walks, 11 strikeouts

Since Aug 2 (16 games): .397/.471/.776, five home runs, 17 RBIs, nine walks, five strikeouts

Since Aug 9. (10 matches): .432/.512/1,000, five home runs, 16 RBIs, six walks, two strikeouts

Last year, Bregman was not on the record himself. He missed 58 games with a quad injury and recorded a .777 OPS with 12 home runs and 55 RBI’s in 91 games. He underwent off-season surgery on his right wrist, which also affected him.

“Kind of the last few years, mechanically, I haven’t been where I wanted to be,” he said. “Today it was better. Today was a really good day of running mechanics and our team did a really good job putting together good at bats. ”

After Bregman struckout on a 3-2 pitch that was under the strike zone in the first inning — which led to the eviction of coach Alex Cintrón — Bregman followed with a two-run double in the third, a two run homer in the fourth and a two-run homer in the sixth. He added a double in the ninth off White Sox second baseman Josh Harrison, who threw the last frame.

“I’m not going to say anything because I don’t want to be fined,” Bregman said of the phone call. “I’m absolutely proud of swinging shots and taking balls. I thought I did a good job of that today.”

Astros manager Dusty Baker said: “I can’t tell you what I said. My mother wouldn’t like it. We all thought it was low.”

Bregman went into August with a .242, but he now hits .264 with 18 homeruns, 72 RBI’s and a .839 OPS in 115 games. The 2019 Bregman seems to be back.

“If Bregman goes, oh man, he’s been hot for a while,” McCormick said. “I’m happy for him. He’s doing great and is locked up every day. He’s healthy and plays every day. We need him every night because he’s a pretty impactful player.”

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