Does History Tell Us Adam Dunn Is Going to Save the Chicago White Sox?
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To start, let's recap the past few games for Dunn.
Since Tuesday, he is 6-for-12 with three homers, seven RBI and four runs scored.
Coinciding with his recent hot streak, the White Sox have won three in a row. Oddly enough, that is not what matters.
What is important here is that the past tells us this is normally when Dunn starts to heat up. In other words, the fun is just beginning.
Last year, for example, Dunn went on a 31-game tear from May 14th to June 16th. During that span, his average was only .230, but he had a .906 OPS, 12 home runs, 26 RBI, 22 runs and 25 walks.
More importantly, the White Sox were 19-12 during that stretch and went from trailing the Detroit Tigers by 3.5 games to taking a 1.5 game lead in the AL Central.
Now, there have been notable exceptions to his mid-May to mid-June dominance. Dissecting Dunn's numbers in 2009 and 2011, for instance, will make a sabermatrician nauseous, but throughout his career, this is typically the time when he begins to produce.
Enough about the past. Let's get back to this season.
Going into Tuesday’s game, Dunn was batting an unforgivable .133 and had nearly as many home runs (6) as singles (8). Something was wrong.
There was a flaw in his swing. He had mentioned earlier this season that “two little mechanical things” were impinging on his ability to make contact (h/t Chicago Tribune).
Well, he finally did something about it. Dunn spent some time prior to the series with the Minnesota Twins completely revamping his swing in the cages.
ESPN's Buster Olney elaborates:
Adam Dunn said Sunday he had blown up his hitting mechanics, altered position of his hands. HR Tuesday, another today, among two hits.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 15, 2013
The Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales also noted the change in approach during Donkey’s monster performance on Wednesday evening against the Twins.
two pretty good ABs today. Has raised his hands higher during this series. 421 feet on the HR.— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) May 15, 2013
Dunn had simply gotten into some bad habits at the plate. He tried to correct them by going away from what had helped him get a four-year contract, and it did not work.
To be sure, the days when Dunn hits for a high average seem to be behind him.
How confident are you in Dunn's resurgence?
Jay Jaffe of SI.com wrote on Wednesday, "Dunn has been awful since signing a four-year, $56 million deal with the White Sox." To a point, he is absolutely right.
Dunn has been dead weight in the lineup for most of his time on the South Side. There is no denying, however, that when he gets hot, he can carry a team.
It must be noted that it’s only been a few games. Dunn could easily revert to striking out far too often and having otherwise forgettable at-bats much of the time.
There is a chance, though, that this is the start of something grand.
And that is exactly what the White Sox need if they are to turn this season around and make a run at the division title.
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