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Monday newsletter time: Bruce Bochy explains Dane Dunning’s early exit in Rangers’ win

(Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports)

 

ARLINGTON — Dane Dunning retired the first 13 batters he faced Sunday and recorded 10 strikeouts over 69 pitches.

That, believe it or not, ranks fourth since 1988 for the fewest pitches to record 10 strikeouts in a game.

And then, he was gone.

Manager Bruce Bochy pulled Dunning after 5 1/3 innings even though he had allowed only one run on three hits. The Reds scored twice more, both unearned runs, after Josh Sborz replaced Dunning to cut their deficit to one.

Bochy had no problem explaining his decision after the 4-3 victory.

“We had a fresh bullpen,” he said. “They were getting another look at him, they’d hit some balls hard there, and I just wanted to change it up.”

The key to Dunning’s bounce-back outing after a couple of bumpy starts was his control. He didn’t walk anyone for the first time this season.

The effort was his fifth career 10-strikeout game. When he’s in the strike zone, he can be very tough.

“I felt like we kept them off balance very well today,” Dunning said. “It was reading swings and reading how they were taking my pitches and swinging at certain things.”

Latz in big spot

The Rangers were leading by a run in the eighth inning when they went to, as everyone expected at the beginning of the season, left-hander Jake Latz.

Latz and right-hander Yerry Rodriguez were the last two relievers to make the Opening Day roster. Rodriguez has already been optioned to Triple A Round Rock.

Latz has seen leverage opportunities, but none more heavy than the one he faced Sunday. He was tasked with retiring the top of the Reds’ lineup — Will Benson, the frightening Elly de la Cruz and Spencer Steer. Latz got them in order, though he received help on a nice play by catcher Jonah Heim as the speedy de la Cruz dropped a bunt.

“He’s earned that,” Bochy said. “That part of the order was perfect for him. We have confidence in him in high-leverage situations. That’s why he was out there.”

Bochy always says that teams need to have a few surprises during the course of a season, and Latz rates as an early surprise.

He also will be the guest this week on the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast.

Speed thrills

Big-league outfielders are so good that it takes something unusual for a hitter to collect an inside-the-park homer.

The unusual happened for Wyatt Langford, giving him an unusual first career home run.

He thought his first-inning drive to right-center would clear the fence for his first dinger. Instead, it caromed off the angled wall and bounded down the warning track.

After turning on the burners, he had an easy inside-the-park homer.

“As soon as it hit that wall, I told [bench coach] Donnie [Ecker], “That’s an inside-the-parker.”

It was a two-run homer that gave the Rangers an early 4-0 lead. Adolis Garcia connected for a traditional two-run homer two batters before Langford’s sprint around the bases.

The offense languished thereafter, but Dunning, Sborz, David Robertson, Latz and Kirby Yates made the runs hold up.

ICYMI …

The Rangers are off today, so don’t go looking for them later on TV. They return to the field Tuesday against the Nationals, who will be without Joey Gallo. Washington has a better record than many expected, though they’re still at a negative run differential. Jon Gray, Andrew Heaney and Nathan Eovaldi are scheduled to start for the Rangers. The off day today gives you ample time to catch up on the latest from Rangers Today, in case you missed it.

The Sunday Read: One month down

Bradford’s tough break

Friday on the Farm: Debut in review

T.R.’s Memoirs: Nelson Cruz in review

Doggy video!

Dogs do the darnedest things. Enjoy.

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

 

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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1 Comment

  1. deGrom Texas Ranger April 29, 2024

    Houston, you have a problem! They start off slow and turn it on, but that doesn’t guarantee they will. I feel pretty good that the M’s (without Ray, Suarez, Kelenic, and that catcher) are the closest competition, ahead by only half a game. Once deGrom, Scherzer, and Mahle return, watch out! Also, Langford should get to the 0.850 OPS range sooner rather than later. The ump strike zones are ridiculous.

    Reply

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