TORONTO — There are mechanical hitters like Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin, and there are “feel” hitters such as Adam Dunn.
Dunn doesn’t have a good feel for hitting right now, which seems fairly obvious to any casual Sox observer.
“To me he’s a feel hitter,” Sox hitting coach Greg Walker said Saturday. “I really think if you break down his swing it’s a fairly simple fix. We feel like he needs to get his foot down on time to be balanced.”
Walker has talked several times with Rick Eckstein, Dunn’s former hitting coach with the Washington Nationals. He said they agree on what Dunn’s major issue has been.
“He’s shown flashes — that game in Texas [Tuesday when he hit his last home run] he was real good getting the foot down and being balanced. When he gets that feel he’s going to be real explosive for us and do great things. Right now getting his big body in position to hit is the real battle.”
Dunn was 1-for-7 with an RBI single and two strikeouts in Saturday’s 9-8 loss in 14 innings, which ended on Corey Patterson’s home run against Gavin Floyd. With the tying run on second and one out in the ninth, he struck out swinging against Frank Francisco before Paul Konerko blooped a game-tying single. With the go-ahead run on third and one out in the 11th, he popped out against left-hander Luis Perez.
Dunn is 5-for-47 over his last 14 games. He had 12 hits in his seven games before that. Manager Ozzie Guillen, concerned that Dunn was getting down on himself and overly frustrated, moved him down to seventh in the order Friday night, and Dunn walked four times after striking out four times the night before. On Saturday, Dunn was hitting third again, with Qunentin taking a day off.
“Any time you scuffle at this level when there are such high expectations it becomes a mantal thing,” Walker said. “Most of it is frustration. He has always had a loosey-goosey attitude toward baseball that has served him well. But I don’t care how tough or loose and fun-loving you are, when this game gets tough it’s tough on you mentally and then you start seeing swing flaws.”