CLEVELAND — Adam Dunn will be in the White Sox lineup tonight. Left-hander, right-hander, it doesn’t matter. The Sox need Dunn to produce to set themselves apart from the American League Central, and the time is now.
After getting two hits in the Sox’ 3-0 win against the Cleveland Indians on Friday, there was a small ray of hope in the Sox clubhose that the big, left-handed bopper may be coming out of his season-long rut.
Of course, there have been signs of this before, followed only by disappointment. So manager Ozzie Guillen is keeping his fingers crossed. He batted Dunn fourth again on Friday despite his .163 average, and Dunn will bat fourth tonight against Indians left-hander David Huff. Dunn is 2-for-65 with 30 strikeouts against lefties this season.
“I felt good today,” said Dunn, after getting two sharp singles and two fly outs, including a warning track shot off the end of his bat. “I was feeling like I was using my legs a lot more. I was able to stay back on some pitches that I would have been way out in front of or swung and missed at. So hopefully that will stay the course.”
Dunn’s second single followed a single by Paul Konerko and came before Carlos Quentin’s three-run homer against a right-hander with Carlos Carrasco. It was an opposite-field shot on the first pitch to the opposite field.
“We knew what we were up against,” Dunn said. “He can be very tough. He was really good tonight. Carlos just got that big hit.”
“A guy like him, it’s hard to string three hits together in a row. We were able to do that, and Carlos got the big one.”
The Sox are in an important stretch with two more games in Cleveland and three at home starting Monday against the division-leading Detroit Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field. Their only change in tonight’s lineup is Brent Morel playing third base instead of left-handed hitting Mark Teahan.
“We knew after we lost a couple at Kansas City we would be coming here and really put some pressure on not only the Indians but the Tigers as well,” Dunn said. “Hopefully we continue to play well, and win some games here, win the series and carry it over.”
Hitting coach Greg Walker remains confident that Dunn will find it. His slump, in his first year with the Sox, has been one of the most perplexing things Walker has encountered on the job.
“I’ve studied it, talked to other people,” Walker said. “I’ve asked other people to look at it in our clubhouse, friends in the business and everybody pretty much says the same thing: It’s something he’s going to have to get a feel for and when he gets it watch out because he is going to have a lot of motivation to run it out.”
Dunn is 6-for-15 at Progressive Field this season.
“I don’t think there’s anything to it,” he said. “I remember coming here with Cincinnati and hated it because I felt crooked in the box. I think that’s a fluke, maybe.”