It is no secret that right-hander Dane Dunning has struggled this year for the Texas Rangers. The decision to have arthroscopic hip surgery in late September cut his season short. The 27-year old righty ends the 2022 season with a record of 4–8. He also finishes with an ERA of 4.46. Dunning came into this season at the top of the Rangers’ starting rotation. He just had a hard time proving that he could be a No.1 starter for a major league ball club. He had several bright moments scattered throughout the year, but he ultimately struggled in the hot summer months in a Rangers uniform. Here is a look at Dane Dunning’s 2022 struggles.
Early Inning Woes
It is nothing new for a starting pitcher to have problems getting past the first inning. This was something that Dane Dunning dealt with all season long. One such instance occurred in early September in a game at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox. In that start, Dunning gave up five runs on eight hits, three walks and a hit batsman while striking out two across four innings. He was 3–8 at the time of this start. He would get one more victory before deciding to have the surgery.
Dane Dunning’s last win came on September 21 against the Los Angeles Angels. In that outing, Dunning struggled early, but managed to gain his composure. He allowed two runs on three hits, and one walk over five innings against the Angels. He also struck out eight. As previously mentioned, Dane Dunning has struggled in the early innings of his starts, and that was the case on this night against the Angels. Third Baseman Taylor Ward tagged him for a two-run home run in the first inning, but he settled in nicely after that point. Over the next four innings that he pitched that night, Dunning allowed only one hit against the Halos.
Dane Dunning’s Next Move
The only thing that Dane Dunning can do now is rest, and rehabilitate his hip. It will be a very long road for him, however. As long as he puts in the work needed, there’s no reason that there won’t be a job for him next year. Whether that job will be in the starting rotation or the bullpen, is still in question. There have been plenty of instances where a starter has had success when moved to the bullpen. A good example of this would be All-Time Saves Leader Mariano Rivera.
Many people forget that Rivera was a starter for the New York Yankees before he became their full-time closer in 1997. Now, he is a first ballot Hall of Famer with 652 saves to his credit. The same thing happened when the Atlanta Braves turned John Smoltz into their closer. Smoltz ended his career with a record of 213–155, with a career ERA of 3.33. He also recorded 154 saves in his career. As far as Dunning is concerned, a move to the bullpen might not be a bad idea. While the idea is at most in the back of the minds of Rangers front office executives, it remains to be seen if it will happen or not. Either way, Dane Dunning will return in 2023, and it is safe to say that he’ll have a renewed spirit.
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