The Miami Marlins aren’t “Dunn” yet

DunnOn Thursday, Aug. 14, the Miami Marlins won their third game in their last four tries, defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4 in 10 innings. The victory brought Miami back to within a game of .500 and kept the Marlins alive in the National League wild card race, sitting four games back with 41 games to play. While Miami fans are caught up in scoreboard watching, the most interesting thing from the contest had to do with the Marlins’ bullpen.
Left-handed reliever Mike Dunn got the win in the game, as he pitched two scoreless innings, retiring all six batters that he faced and striking out three. It was the tenth time this season that Dunn was credited with a win, setting a franchise single-season record.
Drafted by the New York Yankees in the Round No. 33 of the 2004 draft, he toiled in the minors until 2009 when teh Yankees called him up for four games. During the Winter Meetings that year he was traded to the Atlanta Braves as part of a six-player deal. He spent most of 2010 in the majors with Atlanta, making 25 regular season appearances and three postseason appearances for the Braves in 2010.
Most Marlin fans will remember Nov. 16, 2010. That’s the date when Atlanta sent utility player Omar Infante and Dunn to Miami in a trade for second baseman Dan Uggla.
Nearly four years after that trade was completed, the Marlins look to have gotten the better end of the deal. Uggla is currently out of baseball due to his struggles at the plate. Miami dealt Infante in 2012 to the Detroit Tigers for three prospects which include current relief pitcher Brian Flynn and catcher Rob Brantly, who is in the Marlins’ minor league system right now. Dunn has been an integral part of Miami’s bullpen since he got to the Marlins.
In 263 games over the past nearly four seasons, Dunn has an earned run average of 3.53. His 219 innings of work have allowed him to post a WHIP of 1.342 and a strikeout to walk ratio of 2.3. Thus far this season, batters are hitting just .222 against him, with lefties posting a shoddy .188 average.
Will Dunn ever be a lights-out closer? No. Can the Marlins trust him to keep them in tight ball games? Absolutely.
Dunn has made 49 “late and close” (in the seventh inning or later with the score tied, Miami down by one, or the opposition has the tying run at least on deck) appearances so far this season. In the 137 at-bats in those situations, Dunn has struck out 46 and is allowing hits at a mere .219 clip. He’s been especially good in ninth-inning appearances this year as opponents are hitting a mere .053 against him then.
Dunn seems to be a fixture that the Marlins’ management trusts and for good reason. Several transactions have been made by the front office during his time in Miami and Dunn remains. He has earned his spot with the Fish as they swim upstream to becoming contenders again.