In an effort to shake a season-long slump that includes a .173 batting average and 100 strikeouts in 67 games Adam Dunn recently spent some time with a psychologist named Jeffrey Fishbein.
Here’s what Dunn told Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago about the experience:
I talked to him a little bit. It works for different people. I don’t know if it works for me, but you know, I have talked with him and I even golfed with him. I like him. I’m not giving up, I promise you. I just need to go back to basics and quit thinking. It’s not me. I’m not a thinker. Have to quit thinking. That’s not me. I’m not a thinker. I have to see it, hit the damn thing and not make it so complicated.
“I’m not a thinker” is definitely one of my favorite out-of-context quotes of the season, but Dunn is probably right. He’s been so productive for so many seasons–topping an .800 OPS in every year of his career prior to signing with the White Sox–that I’d bet on his eventually getting on track. Whether or not that means he can be worth anything close to $56 million to the White Sox over the next four years is another issue, of course.
Asked if Fishbein is a good psychologist, Dunn replied: “I don’t know what’s a good one. Yeah, sure. I don’t know, it’s my first run-in with one.”
Fishbein probably won’t be putting that quote on any promotion materials any time soon.
I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.
Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.
This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.
Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.