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 Braves and Marlins have some bad blood, especially concerning Ronald Acuña Jr. Around this time last year, José Ureña intentionally threw at Acuña in the first at-bat of a game, leading to a benches-clearing incident. Acuña was hit on the elbow and exited the game but was ultimately fine. Acuña’s crime? Just being good at baseball. At the time, he had homered in five consecutive games, including three games against the Marlins.
In 2019, the first-place Braves and last-place Marlins have mostly minded their own business. The Marlins, however, can certainly keep a grudge it appears. With his first pitch in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday night in Atlanta, Marlins starter Elieser Hernández hit Acuña in the hip.
Home plate umpire Alan Porter issued warnings to both dugouts. Braves manager Brian Snitker wasn’t happy about his side having received a warning for no reason, and was ejected by first base umpire Mark Wegner. Hernández would hit Adeiny Hechavarría with a pitch in the fourth inning — seemingly unintentionally — and was not ejected. Other than that, there were no more incidents and cooler heads prevailed.
Acuña finished 1-for-4 in the Braves’ 5-1 win. Freddie Freeman hit two home runs and knocked in four runs.