CINCINNATI -- The Reds' success in the month of July certainly can't be pegged on one player. But sportswriters made sure to credit Adam Dunn with a large portion of it, naming him the National League Player of the Month for July. "It's definitely something special," Dunn said. "It's special with the way I've been playing the last couple months and to have a good month and win an award for it."
Dunn helped the Reds to a 16-11 record in July by having his most productive offensive month of the year. Dunn batted .278 and led the league in home runs (11) and RBIs (31). And after the two previous months, this award meant all the more to Dunn. After finishing April with a .292 average, Dunn was far from that mark the next two months. He batted just .200 in May and .247 in June, totaling 14 home runs and 26 RBIs during that span. July, though, brought new success for Dunn and the Reds. And with that success came the first such award for a Reds player since September 1999, when left-hander Denny Neagle and outfielder Greg Vaughn swept Pitcher of the Month and Player of the Month awards, respectively. Manager Jerry Narron said it was only a matter of time before Dunn finally hit his stride this season. "I know there's a point in your career where you're either going to get better or you're going to level off or you're going to start going backward a little bit," Narron said. "And [Dunn's] continuing to get better. That's what people want to see." Narron expects a lot out of Dunn. And even the left fielder's performance last month, Narron expects to see Dunn only improve for the remainder of the season. The one knock on Dunn has always been his strikeout total. But Narron said he even expects that to be lowered. "As good as he's been -- especially home run-wise and on-base percentage-wise -- I think he's going to be even better," Narron said. "I know his average can be better. A lot of it is just putting the ball in play. He's had a few at-bats over the last few weeks where he's gone the other way, that type of thing. It's a matter of just putting the ball in play at times. "I was amazed last year at the number of times he struck out looking, which is just unbelievable. But that's why I know he's going to improve." Dunn, of course, has no intentions of moving backward. Instead, he's got his eyes set on August. "[The award is] a special thing," Dunn said. "But now it's August and time to turn the page and try to win it in this month."
Kyle Jepson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.