What’s different about White Sox slugger Adam Dunn this year?
He’s already hit 14 homeruns after just 11 last year.
Last year – a season in which he hit .159. A season he’d rather forget because he still can’t explain what happened.
“There’s a rhyme or reason for everything” Dunn said in a sitdown interview Sunday with NBC5 Chicago, “I haven’t found what the rhyme or reason was for last year.”
But Dunn knows one of the happiest days of his life was the last out of 2011. Then he could put it all behind and not watch a second of it over again.
“What am I going to watch?” Dunn asked, “I don’t want to go watch 500 terrible at bats.”
New White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto agreed. No evaluations. No video. No changes. Don’t even think about it.
“He has a routine” Manto said, “And he sticks with it.”
Dunn has always had a routine, but this time around he’s sticking with it each game and not changing. Like a starting pitcher, Dunn & Manto formulate a gameplan going into each game. And the gameplan doesn’t change. So Dunn striking out less isn’t necessarily because he’s seeing the ball better, but more comfortable in his preparation.
“The thing I’m happy about, most proud of” Dunn says, “is good or bad this year I’ve stuck with the gameplan I’ve wanted.” Even if it doesn’t work – he doesn’t adjust.
The result? He’s not overthinking. And only thinks about hitting homeruns when he needs to focus in on the zone better.
“Whenever I do that it really zones the ball up over the plate” Dunn explains, “then I’m not really trying with my swing to hit a homerun but look for a pitch to hit a homerun with.”
Dunn can empathize with Albert Pujols who is hitting just .216 with 4 homeruns heading into Sunday’s games, with his new team, the Angels.
“It’s a big transition, you’re in a league in a place that you’re at for 10 years” Dunn said. “same pitchers, seeing the same philosophies of each team and how they’re going to pitch to you and all of a sudden all that’s gone.”
Dunn doesn’t know if that had as much to do with his slump last year, but he knows he’s more relaxed this year and can’t say enough about new White Sox manager Robin Ventura and his coaching staff.
“Not to say its better or worse but it’s definitely more stress-free, laid back.”
Sunday Dunn hit homerun number 14, his 43rd career long ball at Wrigley, tying him for second most homeruns in the majors this season.
Yet Dunn insists he hasn’t hit a hot streak yet. When he does Dunn concedes “if this continues it’ll be a fun year”.