Scoreless: On Dunning's Sensational Rangers Start

Texas Rangers pitcher Dane Dunning is carrying an incredible streak with him after another strong start on Saturday.
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Dane Dunning is on a remarkable run to start the 2021 season.

Dunning has begun his Texas Rangers career with a sensational 0.60 ERA and 0.80 WHIP through 15 innings in three starts. That ERA mark puts him fifth in Major League Baseball, ahead of pitchers like Tyler Glasnow, Marcus Stroman, and Gerrit Cole.

What's more impressive, Dunning's only earned run came on a Bo Bichette solo home run in his first inning of the season. Since then, Dunning has pitched 14-straight scoreless innings, which is tied for the third-longest streak throughout MLB this season.

  • Joe Musgrove (SD): 16 scoreless innings 
  • Lance Lynn (CWS): 15 2/3
  • Carlos Rodon (CWS): 14 
  • Dane Dunning (TEX): 14

The three pitchers on the list include Lance Lynn, who was the key piece the Rangers traded to bring Dunning to Texas, and the two pitchers who have thrown no-hitters this season (Musgrove and Rodon).

"I think that's really cool," Dunning said after his six scoreless innings on Saturday. "That's all my catchers behind the plate and the defense behind me. They've been working their butt off. Going forth, I probably won't think about this again at all. I'll go into the next outing with the same mentality. But that's a pretty cool stat."

While Dunning and Lynn are different types of pitchers in terms of stuff, their mentalities are similar. Dunning prides himself on attacking hitters and locating his pitches on the corners.

"I'm not going to be able to blow fastballs by people, for the most part," Dunning said. "I've gotta be efficient and locate as much as I can."

Dunning especially hasn't blown fastballs by anyone this year. None of them, actually, because he hasn't thrown any. After utilizing a four-seam fastball 21 percent of the time in 2020, Dunning has abandoned the pitch thus far in 2021, relying on a heavy dose of his sinker-slider combination, which account for over 84 percent of his pitches.

"My whole emphasis last year throwing a four-seam was to help me with lefties," Dunning said. "That was not the case. Lefties were batting .340 off my four-seam. So I decided to establish a cutter instead — something to get in on the hands of lefties."

According to Baseball Savant, left-handed hitters batted .350 off Dunning's four-seam fastball last year. Good call by Dunning.

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Chris Halicke covers the Texas Rangers for SI's Follow him on Twitter @ChrisHalicke.
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