Wednesday newsletter time: Dane Dunning, Swiss Army Knife extraordinaire
(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)
ARLINGTON — The spot in the Rangers’ rotation currently being occupied by Dane Dunning is the spot that belonged to fellow right-hander Jacob deGrom until he went on the injured list late last month.
It will belong to deGrom again, perhaps in a few weeks after he threw a light bullpen session Tuesday afternoon to test the inflammation in his elbow.
Dunning, though, has been very good in deGrom’s place, and perhaps was at his best Tuesday night.
Dunning allowed only one run and scattered six hits in six innings as the Rangers beat the Braves 7-4. Adolis Garcia connected for a two-run homer in the Rangers’ three-run fourth, and Robbie Grossman and Nate Lowe each had two hits and an RBI.
Ezequiel Duran swatted a solo homer in the eighth after the Braves had climbed within two. More on that below.
But Dunning is the reason the Rangers were in a position to win. He allowed only one extra-base hit and didn’t walk any batters as he lowered his ERA to 1.69.
Manager Bruce Bochy compare Dunning to former Giants reliever Yusmeiro Petit, who filled multiple roles for San Francisco as Dunning has done this season for the Rangers.
“I’m just trying to be the best Swiss Army Knife I can,” he said.
Dunning’s solid work might even allow the Rangers to slow play deGrom’s return. Would they consider keeping Dunning in the rotation after deGrom returns?
“They say it’s a nice problem,” Bochy said.
Consider, yes, but the bullpen needs all the help it can get.
More on that below.
Another bullpen problem
First, Jose Leclerc couldn’t throw strikes when the Rangers had a lead. Now, Jonathan Hernandez can’t stop giving up runs in the late innings.
The right-hander faced three batters in the eighth inning, and the results were home run, hit batsman, home run and a 6-1 game getting very uncomfortable.
Hernandez has allowed eight runs in his past six innings, which isn’t good. All of the damage has come against right-handed hitters, which also isn’t good for a right-hander.
“We need to get him fixed,” Bochy said.
As things stand, Josh Sborz is the Rangers’ most reliable set-up man. Joe Barlow could see some work late in games after he was promoted Tuesday from Triple A Round Rock.
He has some experience at the back end of games. Bochy said he would consider using Barlow there now that his stuff has ticked up noticeably since spring training.
He couldn’t be much worse than Hernandez is right now.
Bochy said that shortstop Corey Seager could be reinstated from the injured list for the series finale against Atlanta after dealing with a stomach bug following his rehab assignment with Double A Frisco.
Seager would have been activated Monday had he been healthy, general manager Chris Young said.
The good news, then, is that Seager’s left hamstring has passed all the necessary tests for him to resume playing. It’s possible that he spends time at designated hitter as he works his way back into playing nine innings.
He had only nine plate appearances on his rehab assignment and played only two games at shortstop, never going deeper than five innings.
Mission I'mpawssible…🤯😅 pic.twitter.com/qZVmIaBmYX
— 𝕐o̴g̴ (@Yoda4ever) May 15, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org