New Dunning, new Rangers.

Dane Dunning struck out five in six innings, allowing only two runs in the Rangers 4-3 win over Seattle.

This Rangers team is starting to be legitimate.

Seattle had been a house of horrors for the Rangers. Texas had lost nine straight series in the Mariners’ ballpark. 

The Rangers were 5-14 last year against the Mariners, 2-7 in Seattle.

Fortunately, this is a different Rangers team. Dane Dunning is a different Dane Dunning.

He was a pitcher who had never won a game on the road for the Rangers. Ever. In fact, he was awful in the road. His home/road splits were significant.

Last year, 4-2 with a 3.39 ERA at home. 0-6, 5.62 on the road. 2021, 5-3, 3.09 at home. 0-7, 6.39 on the road.

Like newborns on a plane, Dane Dunning didn’t travel well. That’s why the Rangers had to go out and get so many starting pitchers. They couldn’t count on Dunning.

He wasn’t even first in the pecking order of replacement arms for when deGrom goes down, which was as predictable as a sunset. Glenn Otto and Cole Ragans seemed to be ahead of Dunning.

But Dunning seemed to thrive in the bullpen this year. Even on the road. What a difference a year makes. In 2023, Dunning is 2-0 on the road with a 1.89 ERA. 

He is a totally different pitcher. And this is huge news for the Rangers. He’s tossing up deGrom numbers while deGrom isn’t tossing anything.

Unlike the roster issues of finding out where to play Ezequiel Duran when Corey Seager gets back, the Rangers don’t have to worry about finding a slot for Dunning. DeGrom will be kept in bubble wrap this year to get him through his five-year contrat. Dunning will get plenty of starts.

If he’s anything like he’s been lately, that’s a good thing.

This is a new Dane Dunning. And a new Rangers team. 

First place feels so good.