Barely a month into the season, Dunn has been nearly a non-factor on offense. He’s hitting .150, striking out once every three plate appearances (25 strikeouts in 74 appearances) and hasn’t gotten a hit off a left-handed pitcher yet. (It should be noted that Dunn was sidelined with an emergency appendectomy in the second week of the season and missed six games.)
Dunn’s miss percentage on pitches in the strike zone from left-handed pitching is way up, one reason he’s 0-for-7 against lefties this season. His miss percentage against left-handed pitching this season is 40 percent, well above his average of 21.6 percent from 2007-10. Against right-handed pitching, his miss percentage is 27.8 percent this season. (It was 18.0 percent over the last four seasons.)
Last season, Dunn hit .314 with 24 home runs on at-bats ending in a fastball. This season he has six hits and one home run in 37 at-bats (.162). His miss percentage against fastballs has also spiked. From 2007-10 it was 20.8 percent, but this season it’s almost doubled to 39.2 percent.
Making matters worse for the White Sox, the rest of the team seems to be following Dunn’s lead. They’ve scored three runs or fewer in 11 of their past 12 games. After scoring 72 runs in the first 12 games, they’ve been held to 26 runs in their past 12 -- and nine of those came in one game.
White Sox This Season
Chicago, which will try to push its modest win streak to a season-high three tonight against the New York Yankees, has suffered slow starts by Gordon Beckham and Alex Rios as well. They have combined for two home runs and 13 RBI.
The problem for Rios and Beckham is the same as it is for Dunn: inability to hit fastballs. Entering play on Wednesday, the major-league average against fastballs this season is .277. Beckham is hitting .205 and Rios .179 against fastballs. Rios’ average against fastballs is the seventh-lowest this season among hitters with at least 90 plate appearances.
Beckham has also seen his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) dip to .227 this season after posting a .294 mark over the past two seasons. This, despite the fact that he’s putting balls in play at roughly the same rate (73 percent this season compared to 70 percent in 2009-10 combined). The same can be said for Rios, who has a .203 BABIP, far below his career number of .314.