Two right-handers who are unbeaten through three starts in August will go head-to-head when the Texas Rangers again welcome the Milwaukee Brewers in the second game of a three-game series on Saturday in Arlington, Texas.
Freddy Peralta (9-8, 4.08 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Brewers, and he is 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA this month.
The Rangers plan to counter with Dane Dunning, who is 1-0 with a 2.18 ERA in August.
Dunning (9-4, 3.10 ERA) deserved a win on Sunday in his most recent outing, limiting the San Francisco Giants to one run over seven innings, but he left the game trailing 1-0 before the Rangers lost 3-2 in 10 innings.
He struck out a career-high 12 batters without issuing a walk. He didn't realize he established a career best until he was informed by teammate Nathan Eovaldi.
"I guess I'm a strikeout pitcher now," Dunning joked.
Dunning credited pitching coach Mike Maddux with fine-tuning his pitch sequences.
"It's just where I'm commanding each pitch," Dunning said. "Where each pitch is effective or it's not effective, things like that. I took that in my bullpens, worked on it, and then took that momentum into the game."
Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said Dunning's command is what really stood out against the Giants.
"His put-away pitches have been good," Bochy said. "He has a good slider, curveball he can use, along with that good sinker and change."
Dunning has never faced the Brewers.
Peralta most recently threw six shutout innings in a 7-3 road win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. He scattered four hits, all singles, and three walks while striking out six and throwing 103 pitches.
"I thought he got better as the game got going," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "The breaking ball really just slowed them down, and his fastball at the top got a lot of weak contact, popups and things like that."
While Peralta is improving, the Brewers' starting staff is getting healthy.
Brandon Woodruff made his third start on Friday night since coming off the 60-day injured list. He gave up four runs and three hits in 5 1/3 innings before the Brewers held on for a 9-8 victory to end a three-game losing streak.
"Excited to see what's going to happen at the end of the season," Peralta said. "It's good for us, too, mentally, because we always try to stick together. We all know like, 'OK, we're going to face this team.' We try to see how we can attack them."
Peralta has made just one appearance against the Rangers in his career, and it came out of the bullpen on Aug. 9, 2019. He got the first two outs in the inning but then walked three straight batters before he was lifted.
He will hope the Milwaukee offense can repeat its Friday performance. Carlos Santana hit a three-run homer, and William Contreras, Willy Adames and Brice Turang contributed three hits each.
Nathaniel Lowe and Mitch Garver homered on Friday for the Rangers, who have lost two in a row after winning 12 of 14.
—Field Level Media