CHICAGO -- Adam Dunn never stopped saying that he felt comfortable at the plate this season even when the results begged to differ.
Dunn kept pressing forward among all the strikeouts and the 0-for-4 days, confident that a hot run was only another day away.
Now that he is finally in the midst of that productive offensive stretch, Dunn remains on an even keel, refusing to feel triumphant now that his timing is back, or down because much of the first six weeks was a lost cause.
“It was hard to sit here and keep saying over and over and over how good I felt with no results,” Dunn said Monday after hitting his fifth home run over his last seven games and 11th on the season. “Hopefully these results keep coming and people start believing me that I wasn’t lying to them.”
In addition to the power show over the last seven games, Dunn is also batting .360 (9-for-25) over that stretch with 13 RBIs and six run scored.
Another sign of his comfort level came Monday as the home run into the seats in right field came against Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester. The left-handed hitting Dunn is just 3-for-32 (.094) against left-handed pitching, and that includes his 1-for-3 showing against lefties Monday.
“It’s one of those that you know, when he’s right, he can do a lot of damage,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s swinging at pitches, pitch selection is good. I don’t know mechanically exactly what it is. But when a guy knows he’s in the right position to hit, he’s more confident. It comes down to pitch selection. He’s been a lot better, making a lot of solid contact, walking, doing all the things you would normally see him do.”
Not even Dunn can pinpoint what is working for him mechanically. The last time he was at U.S. Cellular Field, he was sitting on the bench on a Sunday night game against the Los Angeles Angels, a contest that became better known for Chris Sale's near perfect game.
That is the day that Dunn started tweaking his approach at the plate, moving the position of his feet, raising and lowering his hands, changing the arc of his swing. He went through so many reincarnations of his swing in one day that he ended up stumbling on one that worked.
Dunn said Monday that on video his hands don’t seem to be much higher at the plate than they were when he was struggling, but in the batter’s box they feel like they are as high as his shoulders.
Now that he’s producing, the White Sox are able to overcome a hot pitcher in Lester, who hadn’t lost a game all season and brought in a 2.72 ERA.
“We’re catching everybody's No. 1 or No. 2 on their staff,” Dunn said. “We’ve probably not been very lucky since we could’ve easily missed a lot of these top-of-the-rotation guys, but we haven’t. But as bad as we have played, the good news is we're not out of it by any means.”
Like Dunn, Paul Konerko also said Monday that he is feeling good at the plate and senses that he is ready to break free after a slow start. Add some Konerko production to what Dunn is doing, not to mention the career-high 15-game hitting streak of Alex Rios, and the White Sox might be ready to gain some ground on the rest of the American League Central.
“I hope so,” Dunn said. “We’re still not hitting on all cylinders right now. I don’t expect that last too much longer. Paul’s been scuffling a little bit but he’s the last guy I’m worried about. I think if everybody continues to grind it out like we’re doing and getting good at-bats, we’ll be fine.”