Should we be optimistic about Adam Dunn?

695060.png

Should we be optimistic about Adam Dunn?

It's a rite of passage every March: Player X puts up great numbers in the Cactus League, and they're discounted because it's spring training. Player Y puts up terrible numbers in the Grapefruit league, and they're discounted because it's spring training.

Most of the time, those dismissals are valid. Brian Anderson was an excellent hitter in March, but it never carried over to the regular season -- and that's why he's trying his hand at pitching. Similarly, Freddy Garcia was generally a pretty bad spring training pitcher, but when Opening Day rolled around his varying assortment of slop wound up being fairly effective.

Just a quick glance at Chris Kamka's 10 spring training facts reveals how random and generally unimportant spring training statistics are. There are exceptions to the rule, though, and this year, Adam Dunn is one of them.

Before spring training started, I wrote about the importance for Dunn to build a base of success given the miserable results he saw in 2011 after his appendix was removed. Dunn has gone above and beyond that base of success in the last month, hitting five home runs with 13 walks and nine strikeouts in 19 games.

Those home runs haven't been spring training cheapies, either. One came on a two-strike offering from Rangers flamethrower Neftali Feliz. But, more importantly, three have come against lefties. No matter the quality of the pitcher, Dunn couldn't hit southpaws last year, registering just six hits in 115 trips to the plate.

As Chuck Garfien pointed out, Dunn has six hits against left-handers this spring. His strikeouts are down, telling us he's no longer overmatched. Had Dunn not endured the 2011 season, his spring training numbers would probably be business as usual.

Dunn wants 2011 to go away. It's not a subject he's wanted to talk about with the media -- and who can blame him -- instead opting to center his discussions around 2012. But the specter of 2011 will continue to hover over his 2012 season whether he likes it or not. There are plenty of reasons to think Dunn will carry this success over into the regular season, but it's understandable if White Sox fans can't get fully behind a Dunn resurgence just yet.

Spring training has been an outstanding step in the right direction for Dunn. But ultimately, he still has to prove he can hit in a White Sox uniform in the regular season.

Luckily, we'll begin to find out if that'll be the case this week.

Preview: White Sox continue series with Tigers on CSN

Preview: White Sox continue series with Tigers on CSN

The White Sox continue their road series with the Tigers on Tuesday night in the Motor City, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage from Detroit starts at 6 p.m. Then be sure to stick around following the final out for reaction and analysis on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today's starting pitching matchup: Anthony Ranaudo (0-1, 7.88 ERA) vs. Daniel Norris (2-2, 3.63 ERA)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you're ready for the action.

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.

— See what fans are talking about before, during and after the game with White Sox Pulse.

Isaiah Wright, young fan with cancer, receives VIP treatment from White Sox

Isaiah Wright, young fan with cancer, receives VIP treatment from White Sox

Berwyn-native and White Sox fan Isaiah Wright entered the world fighting the odds. At just 14 years old, he has undergone multiple organ transplants and more than 50 surgeries because of a rare birth defect.

Isaiah and his family have an appreciation for just how precious life can be and they were able to make the most of a recent visit to the South Side for a White Sox game, where he received VIP treatment and met his favorite players, including a private meeting with Jose Abreu.

Check out the video above.

A Go Fund Me page was also created to help support Isaiah and his family. Click here to make a donation.

Tigers' late homer sends the White Sox to another tough loss

Tigers' late homer sends the White Sox to another tough loss

DETROIT — The White Sox still haven’t figured out how to beat their American League Central foes.

Short of a miracle run over their final 32 games, the White Sox can point to their failures within their division as a primary reason they’ve missed the postseason for eight straight seasons.

The middle of the White Sox order missed out on several key chances on Monday night and kept the Detroit Tigers within striking distance in a 4-3 loss in front 27,201 on Monday night at Comerica Park. Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s two-run homer off Nate Jones in the eighth inning dropped the White Sox to 11-27 against the Tigers, Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals this season. The White Sox dropped to 21-25 in one-run games.

“Usually when you have aspirations to get in the playoffs your No. 1 priority is always taking care of the teams in your division,” catcher Alex Avila said. “That’s the best way to go about it, and we haven’t really done that too well this year.”

Much like their postseason aspirations, the White Sox had been hanging on by a thread through seven innings on Monday.

Starter James Shields stranded seven in six innings, and the combination of Dan Jennings, Tommy Kahnle and Chris Beck kept the White Sox ahead 3-2 through the seventh.

Jones took over in the eighth and issued a leadoff walk to J.D. Martinez. Two batters later, Saltalamacchia ripped a 1-0 fastball out to right to put Detroit ahead for good.

Melky Cabrera’s bid for a game-tying homer in the ninth off Francisco Rodriguez was caught on the track in right-center field.

“Any time you get that reversal right there late in the game it’s always tough,” manager Robin Ventura said. “Nate has been as consistent as anybody. It’s a tough one, especially when you know he has his stuff. You tip your cap to them, really.

“Salty has gotten us a couple times late.

“That was the tough one because you grinded your way through it.”

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

It was made even more difficult given the White Sox offense missed out on several key opportunities.

Tyler Saladino drove in all three White Sox runs, delivering a two-run single in the fourth inning and putting them back ahead by a run with a solo homer in the seventh.

But in the first, Jose Abreu struck out and Todd Frazier flew out with two aboard.

Abreu later grounded into a double play in the fifth after the first two men reached and Frazier grounded out. Frazier also struck out with two in scoring position to end the seventh inning after Abreu doubled Cabrera over to third.

The White Sox finished 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine.

“It was a game with opportunities we didn’t cash in on,” Ventura said. “(Alex) Wilson came in and got a big double play really changed how that (fifth) inning developed. We did some good things but looking at it like this, that’s what makes it tough.”

Though he pushed the limit in nearly every inning, Shields finished a rough August on a high note. Much like he did when he posted a 1.71 ERA in six starts from June 29-July 26, Shields was most effective when he needed to make the big pitch.

Tigers hitters were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven against Shields. During the six-game stretch, opposing hitters went 0-for-28 against Shields with runners in scoring position.

He struck out six and allowed two earned runs in six innings, putting the White Sox in position for a much-needed win.

“The first couple of innings I was a little erratic, but as the game went on, I got a little more comfortable and just made some pitches when I needed to,” Shields said. “Overall, I felt good out there, and unfortunately we lost the game.”