White Sox’ Adam Dunn on record pace for strikeouts
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN email@example.com June 26, 2012 10:32PM
The Sox’ Alex Rios is congratulated by teammate Dayan Viciedo after his fourth-inning home run. | Jim Mone~AP
Updated: July 28, 2012 6:41AM
MINNEAPOLIS — The whiffs just keep on coming for Adam Dunn.
If he’s hitting home runs and driving in runs, Dunn’s strikeout numbers — he has 121 after going 0-for-4 and striking out twice in the White Sox’ 3-2 victory Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins — won’t matter.
But his 21 strikeouts — and no homers — during a 3-for-36 slump in his last 10 games are worrisome.
‘‘It’s the kind of strikeouts,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. ‘‘There are some when it looks like he’s missing more than when you see him missing a pitch. He might be out front more with a timing thing that can be worked on. But I don’t worry about those strikeouts when he’s doing what he was doing a
couple of weeks ago.’’
Dunn, who has been stuck on 23 homers since June 15, is on pace for 265 strikeouts, 42 more than Mark Reynolds’ major-league record. Ventura said he hadn’t seen those projections and didn’t care to know them.
‘‘No, I like what I see,’’ he said. ‘‘When I see him swinging the bat well, then I don’t think those are going to be the numbers. I also hit three home runs on Opening Day one year, and they projected 300-and-something home runs out of me, and it didn’t happen. So projections, they’ll be there. Sometimes they’re a little misleading.’’
With right-hander Gavin Floyd (6-7) striking out nine and walking none in seven scoreless innings, the Sox could wait at least another day for Dunn to break out. Alex Rios hit a two-run homer against Twins starter Liam Hendriks (0-5) in the fourth and scored the Sox’ third run on Alexei Ramirez’s bloop single in the seventh.
‘‘As the game went on, my command got better,’’ said Floyd, who retired 14 of the last 16 batters he faced. ‘‘I felt like I had pretty good command on both sides of the plate.’’
Matt Thornton pitched a scoreless eighth before the Twins threatened to spoil Floyd’s work by getting two runs on Jamey Carroll’s single against closer Addison Reed (10th save) with two outs in the ninth. Reed, though, got Denard Span to ground out with the tying and winning runs on base to end the game.
With more lineup flexibility now that Kevin Youkilis (1-for-4) — who has batted in all nine spots during his career — is his third baseman, Ventura said moving Dunn out of the third spot is a possibility.
‘‘It could come up,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘You think about a lot of different things, but right now he’s pulling too many pitches. Earlier in the year, he was hitting a lot of balls to center field. You can get into that thing where you try to hit a home run every time you come up instead of just plan to hit.’’
Slumps happen. Paul Konerko went 0-for-3 on Tuesday and is in a 7-for-45 rut. And Dunn remains a far cry from his .159 disaster of 2011.
‘‘I don’t think it’s anything like last year, but it’s one of those he’s got to work through,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘I’m not worried about him. It’s just a little funk that everyone else goes through during the course of the year, and he’ll come back out of it.’’
Floyd’s pitching gave the Sox another day to work through their hitting issues.
‘‘You have to have a short-term memory, try to make good pitches and work in the present,’’ said Floyd, who pitched 61/3 scoreless
innings against the Cubs in his previous outing.
Entering play Tuesday, Floyd was 4-11 with a 6.29 ERA in his
career against the Twins. He avoided another loss by pitching out of trouble in the first three innings.
‘‘It’s back-to-back [scoreless starts],’’ Ventura said. ‘‘Tonight he was able to stay away from the middle of the plate.’’