Adam Dunn K Watch

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

White Sox still haunted by the ghost of Adam Dunn

Posted By on 06.17.15 at 11:07 AM

Adam Dunn, whiffing in April 2013--one of his 720 strikeouts in four seasons with the White Sox
  • Tom Cruze/Sun-Times
  • Adam Dunn, whiffing in April 2013—one of his 720 strikeouts in four seasons with the White Sox
​Having scrutinized the White Sox on the field and on film, manager Robin Ventura​ last night diagnosed the south-siders' problem: "We have to score some runs to be able to win games.​"​

The Sox have now ​strung together more than two-dozen doughnuts—they've gone 25 innings without ​a run. The Pirates beat them 3-0 last night in Pittsburgh, even though the Sox smashed four singles, and three times pushed runners all the way to second base. The night before, while the Blackhawks were capturing the Stanley Cup, the Sox were edged by the Pirates, 11-0. Pittsburgh collected 18 hits, the Sox a pair of singles.​ ​The day before that, at Tampa, the Sox scored their lone run in the second inning en route to a 2-1 loss to the Rays.

"We have to be able to swing the bats better​,​" Ventura also analyzed last night.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Adam Dunn warms the bench as Royals sprint past A's in wild wild-card game

Posted By on 10.01.14 at 01:27 PM

Adam Dunn celebrating Sunday after the As made the playoffs. His postseason career was shortlived.
  • Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
  • Adam Dunn celebrating Sunday after the A's made the playoffs. His postseason career was short-lived.
After 2,001 games, Adam Dunn finally made it to the postseason Sunday. He had one of the best seats in the house last night, and now his playoff career is over. He went out watching, deprived of the chance of striking out even once.

The Royals upended Dunn's Oakland A's, 9-8, in 12 innings before a delirious crowd in Kansas City. The Royals, who hadn't been in the postseason since 1985, now advance to a best-of-five series against the Angels that starts Thursday in Los Angeles. The A's are through for the season, and Dunn for good: the 34-year-old is retiring.

Even though a righty, James Shields, was starting on the mound for the Royals, A's manager Bob Melvin liked his chances better with Dunn on the bench and Brandon Moss DH-ing, with Sam Fuld in left. That worked out well, as Moss slammed two-run and three-run homers and Fuld went two for five. Forty-one players made it into the game, but not Dunn.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Adam Dunn waves good-bye

Posted By on 09.11.14 at 12:50 PM

A final majestic swing by Adam Dunn in the ninth last night.
  • Paul Boucher
  • A final majestic swing by Adam Dunn in the ninth last night.
Twelve days ago, when Adam Dunn was traded to the A's, White Sox fans assumed they'd seen the last of him—but he's back in town this week for a final farewell. Oakland, struggling for a playoff spot, arrived Monday for a four-game series. The series concludes this afternoon, but with lefty Chris Sale pitching for the Sox today, Dunn almost certainly will start the game on the bench. Unless he's called on to pinch-hit, last night's game likely will have been his last on the south side. He's said he'll probably retire after this season.

With the White Sox, Dunn was forever in a (strike) zone, as Sox fans know too well. Before Dunn arrived, the season whiff record for a Sox batter had been 175; Dunn averaged 180 Ks in his four years with the team. Those 720 strikeouts were all the more exasperating because of the $56 million the Sox were paying him for his four years. It turned out to be the worst free-agent signing by far in the club's history.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sox save seven figures on Adam Dunn after losing eight figures

Posted By on 09.03.14 at 10:30 AM

Against the Tigers on Saturday, Adam Dunn gave Jose Abreus back a high-ten as he made sure he didnt miss the plate after hitting his final homer as a White Sox.
  • AP Photo/Paul Beaty
  • Against the Tigers on Saturday, Adam Dunn gave Jose Abreu's back a high-ten as he made sure he didn't miss the plate after hitting his final homer as a White Sox.
If you just got back to town after the Labor Day weekend, you may have noticed something missing: Adam Dunn.

Dunn had of course been missing ever since he got to Chicago four seasons ago. When he joined the White Sox in December 2010, no player in the team's 110-year history had ever fanned more than 175 times in a single season. That ignominious club record had been set by Dave Nicholson in 1963. Future Sox players who pursue the club's season whiff mark now will have to climb past Dunn's 177 Ks in 2011, and his 189 Ks in 2013, and his remarkable 222 Ks in 2012—one fewer than the all-time major-league record, set by Mark Reynolds in 2009.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hometown zero: With Adam Dunn batting cleanup, the White Sox have nothing to worry about

Posted By on 04.25.13 at 12:33 PM

Dunn at the Cell on Sunday, zeroing in on a new batting record
  • Tom Cruze/Sun-Times
  • Dunn at the Cell on Sunday, zeroing in on a new batting record
"When I'm in the box, I don't feel like, 'Oh, crap, here goes nothing,'" Adam Dunn told Toni Ginnetti of the Sun-Times earlier this week.

He must not be in touch with his feelings. When the White Sox cleanup hitter bats, nothing is guaranteed, or nearly.

Sabermetrics allows us to explore Dunn's situational nonhitting in this season's opening weeks. His average is approximately .000 against power pitchers (0-10) and lefties (0-12), on balls hit to the infield (0-23), and late in close games (0-12). When he's stepped to the plate in the third, fifth, eighth, ninth, and extra innings, he's soon stepped back to the dugout with zero, zip, zilch. When he's been up with a runner on first, or third, or runners on first and third, or second and third, he's produced nada, nil, nix.

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Dunn looks for his 400th Sox strikeout as baseball returns to Chicago

Posted By on 04.01.13 at 12:32 PM

And it's one, two, three strikes you're out again, starting today.
  • Johnny Sampson
  • And it's one, two, three strikes you're out again, starting today.
It's chilly, but so what? Baseball is back.

The Cubs take on the Pirates in Pittsburgh at 12:35 PM. The White Sox host the Royals at 3:10. At about that time, six-foot-six southpaw Chris Sale will toe the rubber 60 feet and six inches from the plate, and start striking out Royals. Last year, he fanned exactly 192 in 192 innings.

And at some point during the game, Sox cleanup hitter Adam Dunn undoubtedly will whiff for the 400th time since he joined the team two years ago. (He's at 399 right now.) Maybe they should stop the game and give Dunn the ball—but money is tight right now in the big leagues.

And there are endless chances to commemorate Dunn whiffs. He'll likely reach 500 Sox Ks by mid-season, and 600 by September.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Buddhist remedy for Adam Dunn

Posted By on 02.26.13 at 11:33 AM

Dunn, focusing, at a spring training game in Arizona Saturday
  • Rob Tringali/Getty Images
  • Dunn, focusing, at a spring training game in Arizona Saturday
Robin Ventura seems to be a pretty good manager, but he does have his quirks. In his rookie season as White Sox skipper last year, he usually hit Adam Dunn third. You'd generally prefer your third-place hitter to bat above .204 and strikeout fewer than 222 times.

So I'm happy to see that Ventura may be thinking about dropping Dunn in the order. (He's had him hitting fourth and fifth in the early going in Arizona.) The fans at South Side Sox offer strong reasons for Dunn batting fifth, which have to do with the base stealing of those ahead of him in the order. They boil down to this: it's usually not smart for someone to try to steal while Dunn's at the plate. He doesn't hit into many double plays (because he whiffs so often), reducing the benefit of stealing. And when he does make contact, the ball often flies over the fence, in which case it matters little if the runner was on first, second, or third.

Baseball statisticians have studied the matter and concluded that it makes less sense to steal when Dunn's batting than it does with almost anyone else in the big leagues at the plate. You'd better be Rickey Henderson if you're going to take off when Dunn's up. (Henderson in his prime, that is; he's 54 now, and may have lost a step.)

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Monday, February 18, 2013

On Michael Jordan, the White Sox, the Cubs, and Michael Jordan (and did we mention Michael Jordan?)

Posted By on 02.18.13 at 02:33 PM

Michael Jordan, 15 years before his AARP days
  • Jonathan Daniel/Allsport/Getty Images
  • Michael Jordan, 15 years before his AARP days
We'll have something to say in a moment about Michael Jordan, so stick around. But first, a few words about Chicago's baseball teams.

Neither the White Sox nor the Cubs should disappoint this season, given the low expectations for both. Baseball Prospectus forecasts a 77-85 season for both teams. BP has the Sox finishing third, 15 games behind the Detroit Tigers, and the Cubs last, 15 games behind the Cincinnati Reds.

Last year, however, BP pegged the south-siders for 78-84, and they finished 85-77. The north-siders also surprised: BP predicted a 74-88 season, and the Cubs managed 61-101, second-worst in the majors. (The hapless Houston Astros were 55-107.)

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Yahoo! blogger's scoop grounds White Sox

Posted By on 09.26.12 at 09:49 AM

Alejandro De Aza, out at third in a game last September
  • John J. Kim/Sun-Times Media
  • Alejandro De Aza, out at third in a game last September
If the White Sox don't win the Central Divison title, Kevin Kaduk! will be personally responsible.

Kaduk! writes for Big League Stew, a baseball blog for Yahoo! Sports. On Friday, Kaduk! pointed out that White Sox leadoff hitter Alejandro De Aza had "a shot at a rare achievement"—he'd been to the plate 555 times this season, and had yet to ground into a double play. Kaduk! said that if De Aza could go the rest of the season without grounding into a double play, he'd be just the fifth batting-title-qualified player since 1942 to do it. "It's a nice blend of achievement and luck for anyone to go through an entire season without grounding into a double play and we'll see if De Aza gets there," Kaduk! wrote.

I wondered how many no hitters Kaduk! had spoiled by blabbing about them in the seventh inning. The four other players who'd avoided GIDP for a full year—Craig Biggio in 1997, Rob Deer in 1990, Dick McAuliffe in 1968, and Pete Reiser in 1942—didn't have to worry about some Yahoo! blogging about it prematurely.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dunn looks to break through—to postseason

Posted By on 09.25.12 at 11:15 AM

Adam Dunn turned frowns upside down at Sox Park Monday.
  • Paul Boucher
  • Adam Dunn turned frowns upside down at Sox Park Monday
Lost in all the notice he's attracted for his single-season strikeout marks the last two years is Adam Dunn's career record.

To wit: he is the active big-league leader in most games played without appearing in the postseason.

In that, he has good company here in Chicago. The top two all-time are Ernie Banks of the Cubs and Luke Appling of the White Sox.

For all the splendor of his comeback season this year, when he's hit barely above .200 but also clouted 39 homers going into Monday's game at White Sox Park against the Cleveland Indians, Dunn has looked as if he wanted to extend that record this fall.

He missed a key series with the Tigers with an injury to his side, and he's been ineffectual upon his return.

In fact, he struck out his first two times up Monday in a must-have game against the Tribe.

Then, however, he homered his last two times up to keep the Sox in the game in the sixth, down 3-2, then to put them ahead in the eighth with a three-run shot that put them up 5-3.

The Sox went on to win 5-4, to keep them a game ahead of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central.

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