Tale of Two Hitters: Alex Rios and Adam Dunn
For the past few months everyone has been saying that when Alex Rios and Adam Dunn get out of their slump the White Sox will start to win games. One of those players got the message, the other has yet to really do anything.
Alex Rios who is hitting a disappointing .224 this season with only an OBP of .275 has started to heat up recently. In the month of June, Rios is hitting .313 and in the last seven days Rios has hit .417. Rios has obviously produced better at the plate, but, in my opinion, he looks more confident there as well. Rios has worked countless hours with hitting coach, Greg Walker, to help him get out of this slump. Walker has said that they are trying different stances for Rios as well as placement of his hands. Whatever has been going on in the month of June has worked and hopefully Rios can keep up the pace. Especially with the way the White Sox designated hitter has been performing.
The first month was surprising, the second month was alarming, the third month has just been sad. Adam Dunn has literally done nothing worth the money he has been getting from the White Sox this season so far. His most recent game, Sunday afternoon Dunn went 0-4 with 4 strikeouts. The strikeouts have now reached triple digits and June is not over yet. We all knew that Dunn was going to strikeout a bunch, but we would be able to handle that if he was hitting the ball over the fence. In the month of June, Dunn is hitting just .153 with only 4 extra base hits in 59 at bats. In the last seven days his batting average is an embarrassing .095 with just 2 hits in 21 at bats. We have heard everything from Dunn having a hard time adjusting to the full time DH role, to having a hard time adjusting to American League pitching. We have also heard numerous times that this it all in his head, and no one is more upset about everything than Dunn himself. Blah Blah Blah. At some point the excuses get tiresome and you just want to stop hearing about them and see Dunn produce like he has in the past. I was a huge supporter of Dunn during his struggles and kept giving him the benefit of the doubt thinking he would come out of this. At this point, he is starting to lose me in his camp, and very fast. We keep hearing that if Dunn has a few good at bats that he will get back into it but he cannot seem to put good games together right now. Not to mention the fact that Ozzie continues to hit Dunn 5th in the order behind Paul Konerko. If this continues, opposing pitchers are going to start pitching around Paulie and getting to the automatic out that Dunn has become.
The end of June is quickly approaching and the White Sox find themselves still in 3rd place at just 4.5 games back. I know that I may be sounding like a broken record, but in a division that NOBODY seemingly wants to run away with, the White Sox have to do something about their struggling DH to start winning games. With the next 6 games against NL teams in NL ballparks I truly hope that Dunn does not start a game. The White Sox simply cannot afford to put him in the lineup right now because the games are becoming that important.