Dunning
Miami Marlins' A.J. Puk pitches during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Former UF Standouts Dunning, Puk Make MLB Playoffs

The 2023 Major League Baseball Postseason is underway, and two former Gators will be taking the mound this year: Pitchers Dane Dunning for the Texas Rangers and AJ Puk for the Miami Marlins.

Dunning and Puk will be on separate sides of the MLB playoff bracket, but these former Florida standouts had the chance to rep the Orange and Blue together during their careers at Florida from 2014 to 2016.

Second Playoff Run for Dunning

The Rangers right-handed pitcher will make his second career appearance in the MLB playoffs this year. Dunning made his playoff debut in 2020 with the Chicago White Sox where they lost to the Oakland Athletics in the AL Wild Card Series. The Rangers travel to Tampa to take on the Rays on Tuesday for Game 1 of the AL Wild Card series.

Dunning pitched his last regular season game against the Angels on Wednesday. He put on a show for the Rangers keeping the Angels from reaching home plate in seven straight innings. In the game, he kept the Angels hitters to just three hits, allowed only one walk, and struck out seven batters.

In his fourth year in the MLB, Dunning has gone 12-7 in his 26 starts and appeared in 35 games. He pitched 172 innings and recorded 140 strikeouts. Dunning has been lights out for the Rangers and helped the team reach the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

Many Firsts for Puk

In his first season with the Miami Marlins, the left-handed pitcher will also enter his first ever postseason run starting tonight against the Philadelphia Phillies. Puk made his MLB debut with the Oakland Athletics in 2019 and stayed with the team until 2022.

He appeared in 58 games this season recording a 7-5 record, 3.97 ERA and .241 batting average against. He also had 15 saves, two holds and struck out 78 batters.

Puk joins the Marlins for their second regular playoff run since winning the World Series in 2003. The Marlins made it into the playoffs during the shortened COVID season in 2020 but lost in the NL Division Series.

Puk appeared in his last regular season game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday. The Marlins beat the Pirates 7-3 and Puk only allowed three hits, one run, and recorded three strike outs. He helped the Marlins while pitching just two innings in the win that secured their spot in the playoffs.

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