Dye busting out all over June
Reigning AL Player of Week cracks eight homers, 20-plus RBIs
LOS ANGELES -- The seven home runs knocked out by Jermaine Dye over his last eight games, giving him 17 for the 2008 season, would seem to put the White Sox right fielder squarely in the middle of the coveted power hitter category.
Dye's .419 average during that same stretch, raising his season total to .297 entering Wednesday, would indicate he's much more than about swinging for the fences when he steps to the plate.
"I'm a doubles guy who drives the ball and hits for power," said Dye, who moved into a second-place tie for home runs in the American League with three others, including teammate Carlos Quentin, after going deep in the eighth inning of Tuesday's victory here.
"You don't want to get too caught up in hitting home runs. I try to stay from right-center to left-center, and take what the pitchers give me."
Opposing pitchers apparently have been presenting Dye with pitches he can handle, especially during the month of June. The veteran is hitting .305 with seven doubles, eight home runs, 21 RBIs and a .683 slugging percentage, and Dye still has five more games to play. This remaining June ledger includes three this weekend against the Cubs, a team against which Dye has 10 home runs and 21 RBIs over 151 career at-bats.
Maybe Dye's excellence has more to do with the pitches he's choosing to offer at during a given trip to the plate. Regardless of the reason, Dye is on the same sort of a roll he featured throughout 2006, when he finished with a career-high 44 home runs and 120 RBIs, while hitting .315.
It's a far cry from last year's early struggles, when Dye had nine home runs during the first two months of the season and had 23 RBIs from March to May.
"Yeah, it feels good. I'm in a zone right now," said Dye, last week's AL Player of the Week. "I'm getting good pitches to hit. Whether it's the first pitch or third pitch, it seems like I'm reacting and putting good swings on the ball and they have been going out.
"We all know it can't go like this forever. I just want to take a good approach every day, hit the ball hard and continue to ride this out as long as I can."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.