Will teams keep pitching to Adam Dunn?
Adam Dunn continued his home run rampage in the Nationals' win over the Dodgers on Friday night, launching two more to give him 30 for the season and 13 in the past 26 games. Dunn circling the bases has become a familiar sigh, but the Nationals will have to hope another scene does not happen with the same frequency -- Dunn at the plate with the catcher standing up behind him, his mitt extended to signal an intentional walk.
While Dunn has been scorching, Josh Willingham has been slumping behind him and providing little incentive to pitch to Dunn. Last night, after Dunn had blasted two home runs in his first three at-bats, the Dodgers just intentionally walked him with first base open in last two at-bats.
Willingham seemed to be coming out of his post-break funk when he went 4 for 7 with a double and a walk in the first two games in Arizona. Willingham also had two walks since the Nationals came west. But his power has oddly dried up. He has not hit a home run in his last 93 at-bats, and since the break his only four extra-base hits in 68 at-bats have been doubles.
Willingham's ability to get on base and hit for power made him a crucial factor in the Nationals' -- and Dunn's -- offensive success in the first half. Dunn is as hot as can be, and Willingham has fallen into his first rough patch of the season. Though Willingham remains a threat, his current slump may persuade opposing managers to pass on pitching to Dunn.
August 7, 2010; 3:47 PM ET
Categories: Adam Dunn , Josh Willingham
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