August 02, 2011
No big deal, right? Sabathia makes lots of batters look pitiful. Go get 'em next time, right, Adam?
No, for heaven's sake no! Because, you see, Dunn has gone 3 for 77 against left-handed pitching this season
Three! For 77!
And yet, manager Ozzie Guillen not only put Dunn in the lineup against a Cy Young candidate, he batted him cleanup.
Cleanup in aisle four is more like it.
There must be a better way. Which brings me to this anecdote:
My closest brush with big league greatness came in the summer of 1994, in the early days of the World Series-killing players strike.
During a road trip to minor league ballparks in Ohio and Indiana, I got selected to hit in a postgame home run derby for fans at a Toledo Mud Hens game. The Bob Higginson/Rudy Pemberton/Jose Lima era, if you need a frame of reference other than Jamie Farr.
I didn't hit any over the fence, but I got a couple near the warning track (kinda, sorta) and for my effort received a nice ovation from the remaining fans at Ned Skeldon Stadium. Make no mistake; if the pitcher had been an actual Triple-A player throwing like a professional and not the batboy, I would have been lucky to nick anything.
Taking it a step or two further: If the White Sox signed my early 20s self to the pro-rated major league minimum salary today, made me the right-handed DH and gave me 77 at-bats against left-handed pitching, you know how many hits I would get?
That's right, zero — just three fewer than Adam Dunn.
No matter his reasons or excuses, Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen needs to promise to bench Dunn against lefties.
Guillen should have done it already. Perhaps two months ago.
Of course, Dunn's performance against right-handers — .203/.323/.384 for a .707 OPS — isn't good, either. But at least we can tell he's actually going to the plate and not just sending up a holographic projection of himself.
Help the White Sox, Ozzie. You're their only hope.
The big contract Dunn signed in the offseason ($56 million over four years) obviously has something to do with him still going out there most of the time. But to say "it's not working out" might be the understatement of the baseball season.
There's no good reason Dunn should bat against a left-handed pitcher. Don't give me, "Paul Konerko's hurt," Ozzie. As shown earlier in this post, there's nobody on the planet, almost literally, who makes for a poorer choice against lefties than Dunn.
Don't give me "Dayan Viciedo is hurt," either. If the Sox had called him up months ago as they should have, or let him break camp with the team, their slugging prospect never would have injured his thumb in a minor league game and be unavailable right now.
Don't give me "there's nobody else on the bench." Omar Vizquel(notes) was on the bench. Alejandro De Aza(notes) was on the bench. The backup catcher was on the bench. Heck, use a pitcher. Use NL rules and go without a DH. Use yourself, Ozzie. Repeating: There's no worse choice than Dunn.
I don't know if Dunn would accept being sent to the minors. I don't know if he would accept being put on the disabled list with a creative injury so he can take a mental break. I don't even know if any of those ideas would work as remedies.
I do know this: Dunn is 3 for 77 against lefties. He can't hit them, by any standard. He shouldn't be put in a position to prove it further.