Dunn's struggles ranked just below the fallout from the recent debt crisis on the front page of Wednesday's edition of The New York Times, just below the fold on the nation's newspaper of record.
"As Chicago's Designated Hero, Slugger Strikes Out," reads the headline of the story by Sam Borden.
"The biggest mystery in baseball this season is a friendly, 6-foot-6, 285-pound slugger with sandy hair, fire-hydrant biceps and the inscrutable nickname Big Donkey," Borden begins the article.
Dunn has been excessively friendly to baseballs this season by seemingly refusing to hit them very hard. The 31-year-old slugger with a .508 career slugging percentage has just 10 home runs and 38 runs batted in this season in his first year as a designated hitter with the Chicago White Sox. His batting average is .165.
"That is not a typo, not a mistake, and not an easy thing for a professional player to do even if he is trying to," Borden writes.
The underlying point is that Dunn's struggles could be the single biggest cause of the White Sox missing the postseason. Chicago has the sixth-lowest earned run average in the American League, but it's second to last in runs despite another solid year by first baseman Paul Konerko.
Dunn was brought in to provide another bat with some pop to help Konerko carry the offense. Konerko has held up his end, batting .305 with 25 homers and 76 RBIs while playing in 103 games. Dunn, meanwhile, has a career-low .296 on-base percentage.
Dunn seems optimistic he'll turn around his performance in the final 54 games and that the White Sox will be glad they signed him by the time his contract runs out in 2015.
There are 1,519 days between now and Sept. 30, 2015 — roughly the time the White Sox' regular season would be ending — which is a lot of daily newspaper editions and a lot of front pages for Dunn's struggles to be publicized.
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