While pitching—against the rest of the AL Central in particular—is going to win the division this year, some offense from Dunn would be nice.
Phil Rogers pointed out in an extended piece that appeared in Wednesday’s Chicago Tribune that, between his last at-bat Sunday and his first one against Australian lefty Liam Hendriks Tuesday, Dunn struck out six consecutive times.
He was on pace to strike out 265 times this year, which would shatter the big league record.
He had a batting average of .208 and had been sitting at 23 home runs for nearly two weeks prior to Wednesday’s matinee against the Minnesota Twins, during which he went 3-5 with a homer and four RBIs.
“Dunn has slipped back into some of his bad habits from a year ago,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said in the article.
That is the bad news for White Sox fans. Dunn doing anything like last year is real bad news.
The good news is that Ventura has noticed.
Well, kind of.
Ventura told Rogers that, though Dunn has slipped back into some of last year's bad habits, he has no intention of sitting him or of moving him down in the lineup
Although the topic of moving or sitting the big DH has been discussed, don’t expect a move. Ventura is comfortable with the presence Dunn brings to the top of the order.
“I like what I see,” the first-year manager said in the article.
How long is too long when it comes to sticking with a struggling, all-or-nothing DH?
How long is the rope extended to Dunn as he gets his mind right at the plate?
Unfortunately, these questions do not necessarily have answers.
How Dunn responds after a strong showing in the series finale against the Twins is unknown. With a trip to the Bronx for a series against the New York Yankees up next, and with first baseman Paul Konerko struggling, he needs to get on a roll.
This is not an easy situation for Ventura to address in a way that benefits both the team and his slugger. How this scenario plays out will go a long way in demonstrating how effective Ventura’s methods of player management are.
We all remember how he responded to Ozzie Guillen.