The question itself may seem odd. After all, Adam Dunn is among the major league home run leaders with 38 and despite his .208 batting average, his on-base percentage is a decent .340 as a result of his 96 walks--which is tops in the majors. Also, his propensity for the long ball poses a constant threat to opposing pitchers as they navigate a potentially potent Sox lineup.
So, with Dunn sidelined indefinitely with a strained right oblique, why would we even think the Sox might be better without him? Playing the devil's advocate, here are two reasons. You be the judge.
1. Yes, Dunn's a threat to hit a monumental homer every at bat but, oh, those strikeouts (96 so far this season). Just as much as the image we have of those baseballs soaring over the fence, we see in our mind's eye that sight of Dunn whiffing, many times looking overmatched, and taking the lonely walk back to the dugout. Without putting the ball into play, runners fail to move and rallies are snuffed out. And while his walk total is impressive, it's not what he's getting paid for. A few more singles and doubles, not to mention homers, would help a lot more.
2. Dunn's absence affords the Sox with more lineup flexibility, the chance to add more speed and a better chance to manufacture runs. When Dunn's on a hot streak, it's not as much a factor but when he's in a funk we might be better off with both Alejandro De Aza and Dewayne Wise in the lineup or A.J. Pierzynski as the DH and an improving Tyler Flowers behind the plate. Or now that the rosters have expanded we could utilize Dan Johnson, who had an outstanding year at Charlotte.
I think the bottom line is that most of us would opt for Dunn in the lineup, but it's interesting food for thought and, more importantly, an argument in favor of the Sox being able to cross the finish line without him.