I don’t know if it makes sense, but then, little about Dunn’s 2011 made sense.
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Then, pffft. Then, 11 homers and 42 RBIs.
Maybe it was a new league, maybe it was a new role as a designated hitter, maybe he’s one of those guys who loses it all at once.
Or maybe it was the expectations.
Dunn, see, had never played in the postseason. Still hasn’t, obviously. Most of Dunn’s good years came on bad teams, those without legitimate championship expectations.
His Cincinnati teams never finished higher than third and mostly came fifth. He was traded late in the 2008 season to an Arizona team that finished second. Washington, forget it, fifth and fifth. Yeah, Dunn was pretty much unburdened by thoughts of October.
I’m not saying those dismal teams were Dunn’s fault. In fact, his production argues he was preventing something worse. But that was the way it doped out.
The Sox, though, were a different deal. They might not have been everybody’s favorite last season, but they were in the conversation.
Then Dunn did his best to end such talk with 117 strikeouts and a .159 batting average, along with those other miserable numbers.
The Sox open spring training this year without their best starter, their closer and a middle-of-the-order hitter. I don’t think Kosuke Fukudome makes up for all that.
Oh, and Prince Fielder joined the AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner.
It figures to be a bad year for the Sox, so it figures to be a good one for Dunn.
That’s my theory. I can’t say it’s a solid answer, but then, nobody else seems to have anything better.