Friday, April 1, 2011
Posted 10:30 p.m. Updated 10:50 p.m.
By Chuck Garfien
CLEVELAND, Ohio - When you stand 6-foot-6, weigh 280 pounds, and can hit a baseball into different area codes, you can carry a baseball team.
Judging by his first game with the White Sox, Adam Dunn is ready to carry his teammates, his coaches and maybe the entire South Side of Chicago on his back in 2011.
Dunns Sox debut was a smashing success. He went 2 for 4 with 4 RBIs, including a towering home run in the third inning that was hit so high that, according to NASA, should touch down sometime around September.
You know it was a 3-2 count, (Fausto Carmona) threw me a backdoor breaking ball at my first at-bat and made me look foolish, Dunn said on Galaxie White Sox Post-Game Live on CSN. I was really just trying to protect the plate, and he was trying to throw me a nice little sinker, and I just touched it.
Thats right. Dunn said he touched it. Imagine where the ball would have gone had he crushed it. A different planet I suppose.
His two-run blast gave the White Sox a 4-0 lead, and set the tone for the rest of the game, as the Sox took a whopping 14-0 lead by the fourth inning. Yes, the pitching staff broke down after that, getting outscored 10-1 the rest of the way.
But the damage had been done. Thanks to Dunn.
That was great. I mean, offensively we came out swinging the bats well. It was a great game, a typical American League game Im assuming, Dunn said with a smile.
15-10 scores were made for a guy like him.
As a first time, full-time designated hitter, this is new territory for the former National Leaguer. Dunn is used to playing the outfield or first base, not pacing the dugout for 98 percent of the game waiting for his turn to bat. He says that learning how to pace himself for nine innings is his biggest challenge with the White Sox. But on days when the offense tilts the scoreboard like a pinball machine, its an easy adjustment to make.
Today was very easy because it seemed like I was up every inning, Dunn said. I really didnt do anything different today just because of that. I had four at bats in five innings, so I just really didnt change anything, just sitting there, still sweating from the last one.
Dunns home run in his Sox debut is nothing new for South Side sluggers. Looking back several decades, you have to wonder if going deep in his first game was actually written in the mans contract.
Al Simmons, Dick Allen, Minnie Minoso, Carlton Fisk, Sammy Sosa, Albert Belle, Paul Konerko and Jim Thome all homered in their Sox debuts. After signing that huge 56 million dollar contract in the off-season, Dunn could have struggled with the pressure out of the gate.
Clearly that didnt happen.
I think its good for him, Ozzie Guillen said. Hes coming from a new team and a lot of expectations. All the people in Chicago expect him to do well, and this takes the monkey off his back.
So how many dingers will the Big Donkey hit this year? Hes currently on pace for 162. Dont think hell reach that.
But if this monster of a man continues to mash like this, baseballs will be pelted, A.L. pitchers will frequently be punished, and for a White Sox team hoping to contend, anything is possible.
Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox sluggers Frank Thomas and Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.