When you think of utility players, most of the time you think of position players that usually sit on the bench but can play multiple positions. For the Rangers, it’s Dane Dunning, who stepped in for the best pitcher in baseball and hasn’t missed a beat.
Last night, in his third start in the rotation, Dunning pitched six innings giving up just six hits and one earned run against a very good Braves team. This was a typical performance from Dunning who has been excellent in his new role.
In his three starts since stepping into the rotation, Dunning has given up just three earned runs. Last night after Dunning pitched six solid innings in the Rangers 7-4 win, Manager Bruce Bochy said “ Since he’s stepped in the rotation, he has just been unbelievable.”
The truth is, he’s been unbelievable throughout the whole season. In both the bullpen and the rotation, Dunning is a combined 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA.
When asked after the game on Tuesday about the possibility of changing to a six-man rotation, Manager Bruce Bochy said “ “I am looking forward to it,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “They say it’s a nice problem, but we’re a little ways from figuring out what we’re going to do then. Dane just has so much value wherever you put him – starting or relieving. Good for him because he’s been relentless since Spring Training.”
I personally am one who thinks that after deGrom gets back the Rangers SHOULD opt to go with a six-man rotation. Now more than ever the evidence is overwhelming as to why Bochy should make this switch.
The biggest thing for me is the injury history of the starting rotation. Currently, the majority of the Rangers rotation has had an injury history in the past. A six-man rotation would significantly lessen the injury risk and keep Texas starters fresh for a potential postseason push.
That combined with the way Dunning is pitching leads me to believe that Texas will go with a six-man once deGrom gets back. Through 37 ⅓ innings, Dunning has yet to allow a home run, and of the 26 hits he’s given up just six have gone for extra bases.
The Rangers will open a three-game set with the Rockies starting tomorrow at Globe Life Field. Martin Perez is scheduled to get the ball for the Rangers in Friday night’s series opener.
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