Adam Dunn struck out four times yesterday to reach 100 strikeouts for the season, which is pretty remarkable considering the White Sox have played 79 games and Dunn himself has appeared in just 67 of them.
To put that in some context, 100 strikeouts in 67 games works out to 239 strikeouts per 160 games and the major-league record for strikeouts in a season is 223 by Mark Reynolds in 2009.
In general focusing on a hitter’s strikeout total is misguided, as Reynolds batted .260 with 44 homers and an .892 OPS in his record-setting season and plenty of hitters have been very productive while joining the single-season strikeout leaderboard. Dunn, however, is hitting just .173 with a .624 OPS, including an almost unbelievable 1-for-53 mark versus left-handed pitching and a .126 batting average at home, where he’s been booed often.
Dunn isn’t going to set any strikeout records because the White Sox have taken to benching him regularly against lefties, but on a per-plate appearance basis he’s whiffing more than anyone in baseball history: 35.8 percent. His career mark coming into this season: 26.9 percent.
The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.
The Tampa Bay Rays have activated outfielder Kevin Kiermaier from the 60-day disabled list.
Kiermaier, who fractured his hip in early June, is batting leadoff and playing center field in tonight’s game against the Mariners. He was just 3-for-24 on his rehab assignment, but those aren’t usually predictive of anything. He was hitting .258/.329/.408 when he went down. Getting his bat — and, more importantly, his glove — back in the lineup will boost the struggling Rays in their quest for a playoff spot.