Adam Dunn carried a mini-slump* into Wednesday, especially in the hit column. He mustered just three of them over 23 at-bats the past week, sending his batting average tumbling back towards the Mendoza Line.
(*For anybody else, that would be classified as a regular-sized slump, but Dunn practically redefined the word during his 2011 season.)
But here's what's neat -- while his average dropped from .250 to .222, his OBP rose from .361 to .370 thanks to seven walks.
And here's what's also neat -- after a solo shot, a single and a walk during Wednesday night's loss to Cleveland, Dunn has revived his line to .238/.385/.536, and he leads the team with six home runs, too.
This is the experience Dunn was supposed to provide. It's not without its drawbacks (he's struck out in 24 consecutive games), but we already know that from last year. We're finally getting accustomed to Dunn's fun functions this season. He's also good for a lot of extra-base hits. Moreover, when the hits aren't coming, he's at least working the count and getting on base, so he's contributing something even when not in contributing form.
It's good to have this Dunn, because the three guys who propped up the offense over the first month of the season are finally hitting their first ruts of the season.
Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski and Alex Rios aren't enjoying May as much as the previous month:
- Konerko: 0-for-8, 2 BB, 2 K
- Pierzynski: 1-for-16, 1 HR, 0 BB, 3 K
- Rios: 3-for-24, 0 BB, 2 K
Konerko hasn't had a hit in two consecutive games, which is the first time this season for him. I guess we can forgive him.
The other two are more troubling, though not necessarily individually. At least with Pierzynski, we know his plate approach lends itself to terrible stretches, but he can dust himself off. Rios, on the other hand, is no stranger to fading into the background after one good month.
Either way, when a team hitches its production to guys like Pierzynski and Rios, it's a tenuous arrangement at best, because they don't offer much else when slumping.
That's why it's so important that Dunn looks like Dunn, even when he's down. That's also why it's crucial that at least two of the Sox's zeroes start posting numbers in short order. Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez have under-the-radar four-game hitting streaks at the moment, but they're welcome to draw more attention to them at any moment.