CHICAGO -- So there you go, Brent Morel isn’t too mild-mannered to have a flashy showing on offense after all.
The quiet California native had the first two-homer game of his career Thursday against the Cleveland Indians to show there’s something about September that agrees with him.
He came up last year after rosters were expanded in the final month and cracked three home runs in 65 at-bats. The White Sox knew what his glove was all about when he came up from the minor leagues. Flashing some power up the middle made him the favorite to win the third-base job in spring training.
Morel did just that with the coaching staff dialing down expectations for the rookie. It wasn’t that they thought he couldn’t be a run producer, but the belief was that there was plenty of firepower in the lineup to let Morel settle in on defense first.
When a number of players struggled, the trickle-down effect was that Morel’s pedestrian offensive numbers also came into focus, but not to the coaching staff.
“He did not make the team because we expect him to hit .300, .350,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “What we wanted, he’s doing it. He makes the plays at third base, he does the little things. The home runs and the offense that’s a plus.”
Morel admitted during the season that his power numbers were disappointing, but he also knew that worrying about it would only make it worse. Thursday’s eruption felt a little better.
“Me personally, I’d like to be a little better [with power numbers], but they weren’t expecting a lot,” Morel said. “I had my own goals coming into the season, but I’m not really going to worry about it. I’m going to worry about finishing strong and go from there.”
In an odd turnaround, Morel’s offensive production has ramped up of late while his defense has taken a bit of a hit.
Morel now has a hit in eight of his last nine games, but he also has five errors in his last 27 games, compared to one error in his previous 52 games from May 17-Aug. 7.
With runners on first and second base in the seventh inning, Morel almost never got his chance to hit a second home run. Tyler Flowers was supposed to bunt and move the runners over with A.J. Pierzynski hitting for Morel. When Flowers couldn’t get the bunt down, Morel got his chance to hit.
“Yes, because I wanted to somebody to put the ball in play, and at least we got a one-run lead,” Guillen said. “But he couldn’t put the bunt down, and I look like a genius. But just let the people know what I was thinking. I was wrong once again.”
With that Guillen laughed. It hasn’t been easy to smile this season, but Morel’s home runs and Paul Konerko’s grand slam made it easy for one night.