NOTE: Apologies for formatting issues. I’ve tried and I’ve tried, but this stupid thing just won’t format correctly. I want to punch it.
August 9, 2009:
Trailing 1-0, Adam Dunn steps to the plate in the bottom of the first with two out and Ryan Zimmerman on second base.
delivered a 1-0 pitch right down the heart of the plate and Dunn swatted it over the center field wall to give the Washington Nationals a 2-1 lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
It was his 30th home run of the year.
Fast forward two years.
Adam Dunn sits on the bench in favor of 5-foot-11, 185-pound Brent Lillibridge
, who has two fewer home runs than the slugger in almost 200 fewer at-bats.
Dunn has 11 home runs on the season, 19 fewer than this point two years ago. Nineteen fewer than he had on August 9, 2010.
Twenty-one fewer than he had on August 9, 2008.
Get where I’m going?
The White Sox are on their longest winning streak of the season, a modest five games – and it’s no thanks to the Big Donkey.
Thirty home runs.
Imagine, even if they were all solo shots, where this team would be with 19 more home runs.
Certainly not five games out of first place, I can guarantee you that much.
The past is the past. Dunn can’t change what’s transpired over the last four-plus months.
But he can control the future.
The White Sox have 47 games remaining and sit either four or five games off the Detroit Tigers’ pace (they’re in extras against the Indians as I type).
Dunn’s bat has had very little impact on the White Sox mediocre 57-58 record to this point, but he has a chance to turn everything around. All the boos can be forgotten, all the strikeouts…well, those will never go away, but they can carry much less weight if he starts hitting some bombs.
The way things have gone, it’s near impossible to believe Dunn can even finish this year with 30 home runs, but he’s certainly capable of hitting nine this month and 10 next month. The guy swings for the fences every time.
If Dunn can catch fire, he can help the White Sox forget all about the crappy four-month spell that has them mired in mediocrity as onlookers scoff at their “all-in” motto.
Is that too much to ask?