Always remember that in many instances — pitching, for example — quality trumps quantity. Justin Dunn’s pitching performance for the Seattle Mariners this season is a prime example of such an instance.
With his victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night, Dunn extended his American League-leading streak of 15 straight starts of allowing three or fewer runs.
Pitching is just different in 2021. Black in the day, pitchers were expected to throw longer into games than we see now. Rarely do we see a complete game thrown, let alone a starter even reach the seven or eight-inning mark.
With managers having the option of going to four or more guys in their bullpen who can throw 95 mph and above with dirty movement, the role of the starting pitcher now is to keep his team in a position to win, rather than go deep into games.
Throughout this season, and even extending into last, Dunn has been one of the best in baseball at getting this done.
Since August 23, 2020, Dunn has been stingy, allowing three or fewer runs in his last 15 starts. Particularly, he has been heating up over his last three starts, and this could be the best stretch of his young career.
Dunn, from Queens New York, has never been the biggest, hardest-throwing, or most intimidating pitcher, so he’d dealt with people doubting him and knocking him for not measuring up to the metrics. Those funny numbers that, falsely determine who has the goods, while overlooking things such as natural talent and heart.
In his last start this past weekend, Dunn went 5.2 innings, striking out eight and allowing one run in a 3-2 victory aided by MLBbro shortstop J.P. Crawford’s second home run of the season. Dunn’s stat line was very similar just two starts ago when he struck out a career-high nine in a loss to the Detroit Tigers. In his last three games, Dunn has an ERA of 2.20 and a WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) of 0.92.
Dunn’s beginning to find his All-Star stride on the mound. He was drafted by the New York Mets in the first round of the 2016 draft after posting a 2.06 ERA in his junior season at Boston College.
Going into the 2018 season, Dunn was ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Mets farm system.
Later that year, he was involved in a trade that sent him to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for one of the best second baseman of our generation in Robinson Cano (who was aging at the time) and closer Edwin Diaz. Justin made his MLB debut on September 12, 2019, against the Cincinnati Reds.
Dunn recorded a 4.34 ERA in 10 starts during the Covid l9-shortened 2020 season.
The kid they used to count out is currently putting together a quality resume for 2021. He has a 3.18 ERA and has struck out 45 batters this year.
Opponents have not been able to make solid contact on him either. His .168 batting average against is good for the second-lowest in the American League behind the White Sox’s Carlos Rodon.
Dunn and MLBbro rotation partner Justus Sheffield are one of two rotations in baseball that feature two black starters. The other rotation resides in Flushing, Queens and consists of Black Knights Marcus Stroman and Taijun Walker.
Sheffield got the job done for the Mariners Friday night as he was awarded the win after going five innings allowing just two runs on six hits.
Dunn’s current streak of 15 straight starts, allowing three or fewer runs is good for the fourth-longest such streak in Mariners’ history trailing Seattle legend Felix Hernandez, Roenis Elías and Erik Bedard.
Dunn’s next start is Friday in Los Angeles as he and High Five member Kyle Lewis take on Justin Upton and the Angels.
MLbbro.com told you early in the season to keep an eye on the New York Mets rotation and the squad’s melanated mound marauders; Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman. The team from Queens is one of just two MLB rotations with two Black starting pitchers.
(Seattle Mariners pitchers Justus Sheffield and Justin Dunn comprise the other Black starter tandem)
On Tuesday, both pitchers carried their whole weight in leading the Mets to a sweep of NL East rival Philadelphia.
It was exactly the kind of performance that Mets brass hoped for when they decided to bring these two potential Black aces into the fold to round out what could eventually be the best pitching staff in baseball.
Both pitchers have basically been lights out. Stroman has a 0.37 ERA and in 12.1 innings pitched he’s given up just 1 run on a homer and eight hits.
He wants all the smoke. At 5-foot-7 he’s a walking billboard for his branded HDMH slogan: “Heart Don’t Measure Height.” Let’s not forget he’s doing all this while fighting social justice causes and responding to idiots all day long on Twitter,
That heart was on full display. After getting his start cut short during a nine-pitch rainout on Sunday, instead of waiting his normal five days to start again, Stroman went Rough Ryder DMX on em’ and came back on one day’s rest to hurl 6 innings of no-run, four-hit ball, in a performance fit for framing.
He was efficient, throwing 86 pitches to lead the Mets to a 4-0 shutout win over the Phillies.
Stroman’s outing followed a spicy effort by Walker, who set the day off like Queen Latifah with the semi-auto, hurling 4.1 innings of 1-run, 3-hit ball with a whopping 8 strikeout. Yeah, he was throwing ched,
This short, but masterful outing follows Walker’s first Citifield start in which he surrendered just two runs in 6 innings. Both of Walker’s efforts ended in a no-decision, but he pitched more than well enough to win.
Walker’s a live arm that the Mets signed to shore up the rotation. At just 28 years of age and having pitched for some pretty average to bad teams in his career, there was much optimism that Walker could really turn up this season on a Mets team that has the pieces to make a lot of noise in the playoffs.
These Black Knights are what we would call X-factors for the Mets this season. How far the Mets advance will strongly depend on the performance of their bros in arms. Both are playing on the best team of their career and if they pitched to their abilities, both could easily have career campaigns. It really comes down to staying healthy.
Walker’s durability is always in question. Entering the season the 6-foot-4 heat hurler had started just 15 MLB games since 2018.
There were skeptics who suggested that Stroman was more bark than bite based on the fact that he hasn’t had a winning record since 2017 and his ERA has fluctuated dramatically. Stroman knew better and entered the season healthy, confident and anxiously waiting for a team to explode on.
The Mets already have a formidable staff with the best pitcher in the game (Jacob DeGrom) leading the way, To have two other pitchers capable of dominating at times comes in handy for the Mets, who currently have two key starters missing. Noah Syndergaard is on the shelf and No. 2 starter Carlos Carrasco is on the IL with a bad hammy.
Give it up for these brothers who continue to dismiss the myth that Black men don’t pitch…anymore.
He didn’t get the decision, but his energy and quality start paced the Mets to a controversial walk-off win in their home opener.
The lights are always brighter in New York, especially when fans haven’t seen baseball live since 2019 when Walker’s teammate and fellow MLB Bro Dominic Smith hit a walk-off homer in the team’s season finale.
The 28-year-old native of Shreveport, Louisiana wasted no time as he attacked the zone from the first pitch. He threw three fastballs at 96, 96, and 97 to strike out the leadoff batter on consecutive pitches. He then fielded a comebacker and picked off Starling Marte after walking him.
You knew from the gitty that he didn’t lace up cleats this morning to mess around.
Walker went 4 ⅓ innings without allowing a hit in his first game in a Mets uniform. It was the second-longest a Mets pitcher has gone without allowing a hit in their team debut. He finished his day going six innings, striking out four and allowing four hits.
He had a 1-0 lead for a majority of the game but ended up giving up two runs in the 6th, putting him in line for the loss. His teammate Jeff McNeil hit a 9th inning home run to get Walker off the hook. The Mets ended up winning the game with a walk-off, hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded.
The former 43rd pick of the 2010 draft has bounced around a few times in his young career, but the team remains excited by his potential. He began in Seattle and was sent to the Diamondbacks in 2016. After having Tommy John surgery, he ended up back with Seattle for a second time before being traded to the Blue Jays last season.
Walker became a key part of a rotation that bolstered a late Blue Jays playoff push in the American League last season. He had a 1.37 ERA in six games with Toronto striking out 25 in over 26 innings pitched, easily the best stretch of his career.
Walker is a part of only two pitching rotations with multiple black starters in the Major Leagues, the other being his former team the Seattle Mariners (Justus Sheffield & Justin Dunn).
Walker and No. 2 starter Marcus Stroman have been lights out in consecutive wins for the Mets. They have combined to go 12 innings allowing 3 runs and striking out 7.
It looks like Walker is ready to piggyback off his strong 2020 campaign and be a golden-armed force in the Mets owner’s promise to bring a World Series Championship back to the city.