Lines drawn when it comes to assessing Dunn's value
Originally Published: September 13, 2008By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN.com
In the span of one awful week, pennant-race enthusiasm in Phoenix gave way to disappointment and two salient questions:1. What's wrong with the Diamondbacks?
2. How about those Arizona Cardinals?
Adam Dunn, nevertheless, finds it invigorating to come to the park even though his team is 3½ games behind the Dodgers in the National League West. With good reason: Total the deficits from the outfielder's first seven big league seasons in Cincinnati, and the Reds entered the final month a combined 110 games out of first place. They rarely were within a curvature of the Earth of the division lead. Dunn, just passing through Arizona on his way to free agency, is learning that pennant-race pressure can be a blast. Whether he's shooting the breeze with Randy Johnson at the locker stall next door or sensing a murmur in the crowd when he steps up to the plate in a big situation, his senses are on alert. This is how it feels to play in September for reasons other than pride and personal statistics. "It's almost like Opening Day every single day," Dunn said. "And you don't have to drink four pots of coffee to get going for the game." Dunn doesn't need any extra motivation this weekend. The Diamondbacks, with their NL West title hopes getting remoter by the day, are trying to regain their equilibrium in a three-game home series against his former team, the Reds. What better time to make a stand? At least they didn't lose ground Friday. While the Dodgers were beating Colorado 7-2, Arizona countered with a 3-2 win over Cincinnati. Webb threw eight masterful innings to win his 20th game, and Dunn contributed a late bases-loaded walk for a team that's finding it a huge ordeal to score runs. Holding serve won't get it done at this time of year, but as the Diamondbacks know from their recent California trip, it beats the alternative. Dunn, 28, came to Arizona from the Reds on Aug. 11 in a trade for pitchers Dallas Buck and Micah Owings and catcher Wilkin Castillo. The Diamondbacks, desperate for offense after second baseman Orlando Hudson and outfielder Eric Byrnes went down with injuries and several young players experienced growing pains, needed to do something to counter the Dodgers' acquisition of Manny Ramirez in July. So far, so-so for Arizona. Although Ramirez is the biggest thing to hit L.A. since Botox, Dunn's time in the desert has been a mixed bag. The good news: Dunn has a .452 on-base percentage as a Diamondback, and he's averaging a whopping 4.45 pitches per plate appearance. His biggest moment so far in an Arizona uniform came a week ago Wednesday when his game-ending double beat St. Louis 4-3. But the Diamondbacks proceeded to hit the road and drop six straight in California. Now the negative: Dunn has only four homers in 89 at-bats as a Diamondback after hitting 32 in 373 at-bats with Cincinnati. Although he has put a slight dent in his strikeout total -- the bane of his existence -- he's right at home in one of baseball's most whiff-happy lineups. The Diamondbacks rank second in the NL in strikeouts, and they've scored a league-low 64 runs while posting a 5-14 record in their past 19 games.
Dustin Bradford/Icon SMIAdam Dunn leads the majors with 110 walks and is seventh with 146 strikeouts.
I do some things that I just don't understand. How could I possibly strike out that many times? I really don't know.
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