CHICAGO – Going without a home run in four games would go unnoticed among most players.
Even Dunn, currently leading the major leagues in home runs, admitted prior to Wednesday’s game against the Chicago Cubs, he’s been out of whack lately though the reason for it does seem a bit strange.
“I actually haven’t (been swinging at bad pitches,)” said Dunn, who has one hit and nine strikeouts in his last 13 at-bats. “I just can’t make contact. There’s a few pitches I’ve swung at that are bad, but for the most part I don’t know if I’m trying to do too much. I think I’m swinging too hard. That sounds stupid. I think I’m seeing it pretty good, just swinging too hard.”
Leading up to Dunn’s four-game drought, he had been on a tear. He had hit five home runs between June 9- 15 and had seven home runs in the month. The only time he has gone more than four games without a home run this season was during in April.
Dunn’s recent struggles have coincided with the team’s own offensive slump, and White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto believed there was a reason for that.
“I think the great teammate in him is trying to carry the team seeing the team losing a few games now,” Manto said. “He’s probably trying to do more than he should be trying to do. That’s just the character of the guy he is. He wants to help his team. He wants to put his team on his shoulder and run with it. As soon as he realizes, hey, just do your part and everything will get back to normal.
“To describe what he’s saying, he’s seeing the ball so good, he’s trying to do more than he’s capable of doing with the ball. Instead of hitting it 420 feet, he sees the ball so well he may want to hit it 450 feet. Once he gets back to coming back down a little bit form seeing the ball so well and figure out what he needs, he’ll be fine.”
Manto also said he hasn’t been surprised by Dunn’s 23 home runs this season after hitting 11 last season.
“I know he had a bad year last year and it’s well documented,” Manto said. “Watching him for a couple years now and against him when I was in the National League, I’m not surprised at all. People in Chicago may be surprised because this is the first time they’ve seen him at this level. The rest of baseball, the National League is used to it. They’re used to him hitting 40 (home runs) and 100 (RBIs).”