NL Worst of the Night: Marlins' Mike Dunn Pitches Himself Back to the Minors
With 13 hits, eight runs and eight walks allowed in 9 1/3 innings, Mike Dunn's status as a major league reliever with the Miami Marlins was, to be kind, precarious.
Then Thursday night happened to Dunn. Actually, it hit the entire Marlins team hard. As quoted by the Miami Herald's Clark Spencer, manager Ozzie Guillen called Thursday's 14-7 loss to the San Francisco Giants "the worst game we've played all year."
Starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez gave up five runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. Ryan Webb took over for 1 2/3 innings and allowed three runs and three hits. But both of those guys have pitched well this season and were entitled to a bad outing.
However, Dunn hadn't earned that kind of wiggle room with the season he'd been having. So when he gave up four runs on three hits (two of them doubles) and two walks in the eighth inning, it became pretty clear that Dunn's spot on the Marlins' 25-man active roster was up for grabs.
Sure enough, the Marlins sent Dunn down to Class AAA New Orleans after the game. It's the second time he's been demoted this season.
The four-run shelling boosted Dunn's ERA from 6.75 to 9.58. His WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) was 2.52. Not what you want to see from a reliever, nor any other pitcher, for that matter. Opponents were batting .340 against him.
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Guillen expressed his exasperation with Dunn in his postgame interview with reporters.
“His breaking ball is not working. His location is not the greatest," Guillen said. "That arm is gold. You throw 95 but you don’t throw the ball over the plate and [your] breaking ball is not working then you’re going to get hit.’’
Guillen and the Marlins certainly aren't the first team to give a pitcher plenty of room to fail when he has a rocket launcher for an arm. Look at what the Nationals are going through with Henry Rodriguez.
Of course, Rodriguez has had some success, despite his struggles with finding the strike zone. Opposing batters are teeing off on Dunn because he has nothing else to show them. And if his fastball is straight, major league hitters are going to pound that stuff eventually.
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