Despite hitting .101, White Sox slugger Adam Dunn remains confident
BY TONI GINNETTI email@example.com April 22, 2013 11:08PM
Updated: April 23, 2013 12:12AM
Yes, the White Sox’ offense and defense are “terrible.” Yes, things are going badly in general.
That includes the man making the assessment — Adam Dunn.
“Everything starts with hitting,” Dunn said Monday. “If people are swinging the bats well, everything looks in sync. And when you’re not, everything looks terrible. As soon as the offense gets going, we’ll be fine.”
That is especially true for the burly designated hitter, who is looking for answers again with a .101 average and 27 strikeouts in 18 games.
Dunn went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in the Sox’ 3-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians, their fourth in a row and 10th in the last 13 games.
Dunn isn’t the only offensive weak link, but he’s still the biggest force counted on to make a difference.
The worst batting stretch of his career, going hitless in 31 at-bats, coincided with the Sox’s 3-9 stretch in the last two weeks. He homered to end it Sunday, but he also had three strikeouts.
Dunn and hitting coach Jeff Manto have spent countless hours trying to work out what might be wrong. Dunn was confident Monday he had detected several things that need adjusting.
“I can feel what it is,” he said. “I’m just trying to figure out a way to stop it, and that’s the thing. I don’t want it to obviously snowball and one thing leads to another and then you have 13 things to worry about instead of one. It’s not a huge issue, but it is to me.”
One thing can turn many things around for a struggling hitter and struggling team, manager Robin Ventura said.
“Guys are always looking, and you’re always trying to find little things to help them,” he said. “It can be something little, or sometimes it can be something that gets overlooked because there can be overload.
“You have to be precise, and they have to feel confident with you and what you’re trying to give them.”
Encouraging for Dunn — and in turn the team — is his belief he isn’t far away from getting on track.
“When I’m in the box, I don’t feel like, ‘Oh, crap, here goes nothing.’ I feel good, like I can still do some damage,” he said. “In the past when I’ve been struggling, there’s some times where I’d try to get a walk or get drilled or something.
“The last couple of days, I feel like I’ve really been swinging at pitches that I wouldn’t and fouling balls off. That’s what kind of gets me. I do feel good, and the last couple days, probably if I don’t feel as good as I feel, I don’t swing at those pitches.
“If I feel like this, we’ll be fine.”
Dunn would welcome being the spark that lights a fire for the team.
“Offensively, we’ve had one guy hit for most of the season [Alex Rios],” he said. “Obviously, that has to pick up, and when it does, everything else will pick up.
“It seems like when everyone’s hitting, everything seems to come together, so we need to start whacking it.
“We can’t play any worse than what we’re playing now. Obviously, we’re getting good pitching, but other than that [we’re] terrible. I don’t know how far back we are [in last place in the American League Central], but the reassuring thing is it’s early, but we’re playing our worst baseball of the season. If you’re going to play bad baseball, you might as well do it now.”