The Big Breeze stretched his missing streak to 13 games last weekend, fanning in all three losses to the Tigers, but he snapped the streak on Monday night in a rare White Sox victory, 2-0 over the Yankees. The Sox have won every game this season in which Adam Dunn has played and not struck out. Both of them. Dunn is now working on a fresh three-game missing streak.
Dunn’s quest to break the club’s season strikeout record (175) seemed in jeopardy when he missed a half dozen games this month because of an appendectomy. But he’s making up for lost time by fanning at an elevated clip—once every 2.4 official at bats, compared with his career rate of once every 3 ABs.
Back in the old days three years ago, we would have fretted and fussed over the cause of the Big Breeze’s increased whiffing—but thanks to computer analysis, we needn’t wonder. On Wednesday, ESPN’s Stats & Info blog posted the answer to “Why Dunn’s done little damage thus far.” The blog, which uses “a blend of traditional statistics and the advanced metrics we call ‘Next Level,’” has determined that Dunn is striking out more because he’s been missing the ball more. “Dunn’s miss percentage on pitches in the strike zone from left-handed pitching is way up,” Stats & Info points out. As is his miss percentage against right-handers. And his miss percentage against fastballs. So there you have it from Next Level metrics: all Dunn has to do is reduce his miss percentage, and he’ll be in business.