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Saturday, April 20, 2013
Dunn at lead of offensive funk

By Doug Padilla

CHICAGO -- Already without the injured Dayan Viciedo and Gordon Beckham, the Chicago White Sox are now dealing with another hole in the batting order.

Adam Dunn is in the midst of a free fall that has taken his batting average under the .100 mark and has contributed heavily to the team's overall offensive inconsistencies.

With an 0-for-4 game in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by the Minnesota Twins -- not to mention three more strikeouts to boot -- Dunn has just six hits in 61 at-bats this season and practically nothing for the past two weeks. Starting with the White Sox’s game at Washington on April 10, Dunn has gone 1-for-37.

And while it’s true that slumps to start the season are magnified, an .027 batting average over any 10-game sample would be cause for alarm. Going back even further, Dunn has just four hits with 21 strikeouts over his past 54 at-bats.

“Today aside, I don’t feel terrible up there,” Dunn said. “Obviously, the results aren’t there, and this is a result-oriented game. That’s the first thing people think is that there’s something wrong. I don’t feel bad. You just can’t let it snowball and get in your head and start trying to get four hits on one at-bat.”

While any replacement off the bench figures to produce more than Dunn is offering right now, the White Sox need their power hitter to generate the type of run production he is capable of if they want to be the team they envision. So while a day off here and there could be coming, the team is not about to quit on him now.

Teammates note that Dunn is in a good frame of mind, he just continues to be in another one of those ruts that big power, high strikeout guys like him can get into. Dunn’s ruts just seem to be bigger than most.

“Adam’s not one to really press too much,” said Paul Konerko, who is the yin to Dunn’s yang in that Konerko overanalyzes most everything. “He’s handled it well. He’s been through this stuff before. And a guy like him, I mean, two games and he can get it all back. I’m not saying you want to do that, but when you can do what he can do, you can kind of jump back into the ballgame quick when you can do what he can do with the bat.”

It remains to be seen what manager Robin Ventura does with Sunday’s lineup. Dunn has sat out just once this season, when the White Sox were in Washington on the just-concluded road trip and the DH spot wasn’t available.

The White Sox will be facing Minnesota Twins left-hander Scott Diamond on Sunday, and it could be a good opportunity to get the left-handed-swinging Dunn a break to clear his mind.

“I think he’s frustrated; anybody would be,” Ventura said. “It’s just one of those where you just got to keep grinding through it, and he’ll eventually get through it. It’s just one of those where both teams had a big [strike] zone today.

“It’s a frustrating day, but I think it’s one of those that he’ll just keep grinding and get out of it. But this is the tough part. This is not the time for guys to start thinking about other things. Just go out and try to do things to help your team win instead of thinking about little individual stuff.”

Plate umpire C.B. Bucknor had such a liberal strike zone that 10 separate times he called out a player looking at strike three. There were 22 strikeouts in the game, with the White Sox striking out 13 times.

Dunn struck out looking two times with his other strikeout coming when he failed to check his swing. He made no excuses, though.

“When you’re getting pitches to hit you need to hit them and not put yourself in that situation,” Dunn said. “When we got some pitches to hit, we didn’t do it.”