Ryan Boyer

Baseball Daily Dose

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Call it a Comeback

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Adam Dunn was a laughingstock in Chicago last season. Now he’s the toast of the town.


“Big Donkey” certainly came up big for the White Sox Monday night, drilling a solo home run in the sixth inning and a two-out, 0-2 count, three-run homer in the eighth to lead the team to a comeback win over the Indians. The victory allowed the Sox to stay a game ahead of the Tigers for the lead in the AL Central.


Of course, coming up with big hits hasn’t been new to Dunn this year. After completely flopping last season in the first year of a four-year, $56 million deal, batting .159/.292/.277 with 11 longballs, Dunn has responded with a .210/.339/.489 line and 41 dingers this season. Even LL Cool J would call that a comeback.


Dunn has now registered six 40-homer seasons, though he has yet to ever lead the league in taters. He’s got a shot to do so this year, as he trails Josh Hamilton by two bombs and Miguel Cabrera by one. Dunn is also leading all of baseball in walks and strikeouts, as he could become the first player since Babe Ruth in 1927 to lead both leagues in the Three True Outcomes.


CarGo Could be Shut Down


Carlos Gonzalez has started just one game over the last week due to a strained left hamstring. He might not start another one.


The outfielder underwent an MRI Monday that showed inflammation behind his left knee, and although he still wants to return this season, he admits the hamstring will have to improve in a hurry.


“I don’t know if I will be able to play again. It’s a tough spot. I want to,” Gonzalez said in the Denver Post. “I don’t want to end like last year where I miss a bunch of games at the end. But it has to get better.”


The Rockies have just nine games remaining this season, and CarGo almost surely won’t be back before this weekend even in a best-case scenario. Those in head-to-head leagues fighting for a championship should feel free to cut him loose.


Storen the Preferred Ninth Inning Option


Drew Storen was supposed to be the Nationals’ closer by midseason. Although he was able to make it back from elbow surgery by then, Tyler Clippard had already developed a stranglehold on the ninth inning gig.


However, of late, Clippard’s grip has loosened, and Storen has swooped in and taken advantage. Clippard has been scored upon in four out of his last five appearances and has a 5.74 ERA in the second half. On the flip side, opponents have failed to dent the scoreboard the last 11 times Storen has toed the rubber, and he has a 12/0 K/BB ratio over 10 1/3 innings this month.


Manager Davey Johnson has taken notice, giving Storen some save chances this month. On Monday, he admitted that last year’s 40-save reliever is now his preferred option in the ninth. Johnson still plans on using Clippard in some save situations, though.


“The guy that goes out there is the closer that day,” Johnson said in the Washington Post. “How’s that?”


While we don’t doubt that Johnson still has confidence in Clippard, Storen has clearly been the better pitcher over the last couple months and has plenty of the closer experience that managers love. He’s the guy to own in DC for saves down the stretch.






National League Quick Hits: Dexter Fowler didn’t start a second straight game Monday due to tendinitis in his right wrist. He’s considered day-to-day, but given that he’s batting just .147 over his last nine games, it’s probably safe to cut him loose at this point ... Tyler Skaggs has been shut down by the Diamondbacks after accumulating 151 2/3 innings between the minors and the majors. Josh Collmenter takes his spot in the rotation ... Rafael Furcal (elbow) has officially been ruled out for the season. The Cardinals still think he can avoid surgery, though ... David Freese was removed early Monday due to an ankle injury he suffered in the batting cage before the game. He’s considered day-to-day ... Jose Altuve (groin) sat out Monday’s game, but the Astros hope he can return during the series against the Cardinals ... J.D. Martinez will undergo season-ending hamate bone surgery on his left hand. He got off to a great start this year but wound up batting just .241/.311/.375 with 11 homers ... Jordan Zimmermann tossed 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball Monday in a victory over the Brewers. After going through a rough stretch, he’s been terrific his last four times out ... Ike Davis slugged his 29th and 30th homers in Monday’s win over the Pirates. Though he’s batting just .227, Davis has given the Mets plenty of pop.


American League Quick Hits: Coco Crisp’s conjunctivitis is not getting better, and the A’s aren’t sure when he’ll be able to return to the lineup. He’s started just one game over the last week, and he had to leave that one early ... Jake Peavy’s scheduled start Wednesday could be pushed back as the White Sox try to ease his workload a bit. He’s already topped 200 innings this season for the first time since 2007. Hector Santiago would start in his place ... Josh Hamilton (ocular keratitis) returned to the lineup Monday and launched his league-leading 43rd home run in a win over the A’s ... Adam Jones went 6-for-8 with a home run, two RBI and a stolen base in Monday’s doubleheader split with the Blue Jays. ... David Aardsma (elbow) is expected to be activated from the disabled list Tuesday. It’s been over two years since he’s pitched in a game, so the Yankees surely won’t use him in crucial situations or include him on the postseason roster ... Andy Pettitte tossed six shutout innings Monday and has now been unscored upon in 11 frames since returning from the disabled list ... Josh Willingham will undergo an MRI on his left shoulder Tuesday after he strained it while running into the left field fence Monday. He figures to miss at least a game or two even if the MRI comes back clean.

Ryan Boyer is a baseball writer for Rotoworld. He can also be found on Twitter.
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