The Texas Rangers are now 42 games into the season. They have passed the quarter mark in this season. They are in first place in the AL West, second in run differential, and second in runs scored. It has been a very surprising start for this Rangers team. It has been a complete team effort to get to this point. I want to bring up five players who have been key contributors to this surprise start.
1. Dane Dunning
Dunning continued his great start against the Braves on Tuesday night. He pitched six innings, giving up one run, on six hits, with four strikeouts, and zero walks. He was removed with the score 6-1 and the Rangers ended up winning 7-4. Dunning came into the 2023 season with question marks. He had hip surgery at the end of the 2022 season to repair a torn labrum. No one knew if he would be healthy and even if he was healthy could he still be effective. The talk all offseason was about how he would be starting the season in Round Rock. He came into camp and put up good starts and was also able to come out of the pen and be effective. When it was determined Jake Odorizzi would not be ready for the start of the season Dunning was made the long man along with Cole Ragans. He was dominant in that role as he started the season with six scoreless appearances. In late April Jacob deGrom went down with elbow inflammation. Dunning stepped into his spot in the rotation and has made three starts and is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA. He has increased his strikeouts per 9 innings to 6.4 in that role. He has been so valuable both as a reliever and now as a starter. He bailed out the bullpen pitching multiple innings out of the pen and now is filling in more than capably for ace Jacob deGrom. He has been the one rock in the bullpen and now in the rotation that has consistently done their job at a high level.