Dane Dunning will be tonight’s starting pitcher, according to Evan Grant on Twitter. The Rangers are in Anaheim starting a ten game road trip tonight.
Dunning was part of the Rangers’ rotation the previous two seasons, but with the addition of all the new starting pitchers this offseason, he came into spring training without a rotation spot. A strong spring earned him a spot in the Rangers’ bullpen as a long man, and he has excelled in that role, putting up a 1.77 ERA and 3.31 FIP in 20.1 IP over eight games this year.
With Jacob deGrom on the injured list, the Rangers had a hole in the rotation, though the off days on Monday and Thursday of this week would have allowed the Rangers to put off using a fifth starter until this coming Tuesday. Instead, the Rangers will roll with Dunning to start this road trip, which gives the rest of the starters extra rest.
While Bruce Bochy said after Wednesday’s game that a decision hadn’t been made about the fifth starter or when the fifth starter would be used, the fact that Dunning didn’t come into the game when Andrew Heaney was knocked out in the fifth inning hints at the possibility that this was the plan all along.