Here is exactly why Adam Dunn is unique. After Friday's 8-1 win over the Giants - read our game story here - a reporter asked the Nats’ slugging first baseman about his streak of hitting 20 homers before the All-Star break each of the last eight seasons and yet never making it. Not once. He has one All-Star game on the resume and that came in 2002, his first full year in the big leagues.

“Yeah - whatever dude. [long pause] I don’t know what to tell you. All-Star game? I don’t know.”

Dunn's tone was part exasperation – he’s heard a variation of that question pretty much each of the last eight years – and country-boy nonchalance. But with five homers the last three games he now ranks second in Major League Baseball in that category with 22. He’s seventh in OPS (.963). He’s fifth in slugging percentage (.593). Yet you won’t see him in Anaheim on Tuesday barring a last-minute injury replacement.

Okay, moving on then. How about Dunn changing his approach at the plate? There has to be some reason he’s been embarrassing National League pitchers the last week.

“I have one approach, dude. I’d love to tell you that I’m trying to slap it to left. But I’m not. Just trying to hit it on the barrel.”

Again, that was not said with any malice. Just an “it is what it is” frankness. He has no real desire to put what he’s doing into words or any sort of context. So, um, when Dunn is on a hot streak like this does he feel it even before the game starts? You already know the answer. Comcast's Lisa Hillary gamely tried that one.

“Yeah – no….No. No. The best I’ve ever felt in my life I didn’t have a very good game. Let’s put it that way. Great [batting practice], great everything. But it wasn’t a very good night. I think every hitter, especially every power hitter, goes through a stretch where they hit home runs. And that’s kind of what’s happening now.”

Thinking too much is obviously bad. At least that’s Dunn’s shtick. The truth is probably somewhere in between. Whatever. So is he at least looking forward to the All-Star break and getting a much-needed rest?

“Do I want it? Absolutely. But I’ve got two games left. Don’t put that in my head yet, man — please.”

On that one he reacted like a little kid plugging his fingers into his ears to block out a lecture from his mom. Okay, Adam, we’ll stop – for now. But this hot streak coincides perfectly with the end-of-the-month trade deadline AND the Nats’ attempts to sign Dunn to a contract extension. Unfortunately for him, the questions are just beginning.

Nats Notes

» Stephen Strasburg update: In seven big-league starts - 42 2/3 innings - he has allowed 11 earned runs. His 61 strikeouts lead the entire Nats rotation. He has 11 walks total and a 5.54 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His WHIP is 1.01. Opponents are batting .205 against him. And he's 3-2 with a 2.32 ERA. 

» Dunn hit his third multi-homer game of the season and 27th of his career. He leads the entire N.L. with 50 extra-base hits and that's a career high for him entering the All-Star break.

» Wil Nieves was 6-for-51 (.118 batting average) with four RBI and one run scored in 19 games dating back to May 25. Of course, he went 2-for-4 with two RBI on Friday night. Willie Harris, who himself had a much-needed 3-for-4 game, earned his first RBI since June 4.

» The Nats have allowed at least one run in the first inning in nine straight games. That's not good. No team in baseball has had that happen to them this season. Washington has also trailed first in each of its last 11 games. Again, they might want to change that up.

» The Nats sent starting pitcher Luis Atilano to Triple-A Syracuse on Friday. But it should be a temporary move. He can get a start in with the Chiefs during the All-Star break and be back with the Nats on July 20 at Cincinnati. Otherwise it likely would have been 12 days between starts for the 25-year-old right-hander.  

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