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Dunn Against Lefties?

As a follow up to Bill Chuck's previous post on Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox, a reader asked to look at his struggles against lefties.  There are two major changes that help account for his poor performance.

Pitchers are attacking Dunn more when the count favors the hurler.  From 2008-2010,  Dunn tended to see pitches away when he was at a disadvantage:

Adam Dunn versus left-handed pitchers, count favoring the pitcher, 2008-2010.Now they are busting him inside.

Adam Dunn versus left-handed pitchers, count favoring the pitcher, 2011.From 2008-2010 Dunn hit .159/.177/.270 in that situation for a wOBA of .194.  This season, he's hitting .000 across the board.

The second change is one that might explain why pitchers are willing to pitch him inside.


Adam Dunn fly ball distance
Pitcher handedness 2008-2010 2011
Right handed 343 328
Left handed 337 320


Adam can't hit the ball that far any more.  There may be many reasons for his, but since his distance dropped against both right-handed and left-handed pitchers, it may be Adam more than the way he's being pitched.  Given that opponents are more likely to pitch him inside, it seems Adam lost some bat speed.  Maybe a lighter bat will help, but it could also be that at age 31, like Pat Burrell, he physically lost part of his ability to hit.



Adam Dunn's 100 strikeouts

It's hard to believe that in 67 games, 279 plate appearances, 231 at bats, Adam Dunn of the White Sox has 100 strikeouts. For the second time this season, Dunn now has multiple strikeouts in six consecutive games. he's even had 11 games this season with at least three strikeouts. Not that they are comparable, but I was curious as to how many games Joe DiMaggio struck out three times in his career and that would be one. He struck out three times June 19, 1942 against Cleveland. That was the only time in the 1736 games he played.

Here are some very distressingly red images of Adam Dunn this season.

Of Dunn's 100 strikeouts, 27 have been called third strikes:

27 called third strikesDunn has struck out 25 times against lefties, 18 have been swinging strikeouts:

18 swinging strike outs against lefitesAgainst righties, Dunn has swung and missed at strike three 55 times:

There is a little diversity here in his swinging strikeouts against rightiesDunn has been simply atrocious this season against lefties, going 1-for-53 (.019) and that one hit was an infield single.

Dunn vs. lefties:

In 63 plate appearances this season, Dunn against lefties has one single and nine walksDunn has seen 295 pitches against lefites, he has swung at 41% of them, he has missed on 34.7%. his BABIP is .036.

Remarkably, despite Dunn's season thus far, one in which his presence in the lineup was to be heavily relied upon, the White Sox are just 4.5 games out of first. It will be interesting to see what, if any, adjustment can be made for Dunn over the coming weeks.





James Shields's 3-D Change Up

James Shields of the Tampa Bay Rays pitched a three-hitter Friday night evenly mixing in his fastball, change up and curveball throughout the evening.  The change up proved to be his out pitch.  With two strikes, he went to the change up nineteen times out of 30 pitches thrown.  Astros batters went 0 for 12 when they put a change up in play, and struck out on five more.

Shields throws a change that varies in three dimensions from his fastball.  First, compare the two pitches on speed and spin:

James Shields, fastball and change up, speed and spin, June 24, 2011.The fastball is nearly straight over the top with good back spin, thrown about 91 MPH.  The change introduces that little bit of side spin which moves it toward the catcher's glove hand.  The change averages about 84 MPH.

How do these pitches look crossing the plate?

James Shields, fastball and change up, movement, June 24, 2011.The main movement of the fastball is toward left-handed batters.  The main movement of the change up is down and toward right-handed batters.  With the same motion as his fastball, Shields throws a change up with a different speed, spin and the opposite movement.  That pitch ate up the Astros Friday night.