Justin Dunn's quest to solidify spot in the 2023 Reds starting rotation continues tonight vs. Cubs

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Justin Dunn
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Justin Dunn / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

Justin Dunn will take the hill tonight for the Cincinnati Reds as they open up a three-game series versus the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. After prematurely exiting his last start, all eyes will be on Dunn as the right-hander is looking to solidify his spot in the Reds 2023 starting rotation.

Dunn lasted just four innings in a no-decision during his last outing. It was, perhaps, his best showing to date having recorded four punch outs and allowing just one run on three hits versus a very tough St. Louis Cardinals lineup.

But shoulder discomfort caused Reds skipper David Bell to exercise an abundance of caution and remove Dunn after the right-hander had delivered just 63 pitches.

Justin Dunn looks to solidify his spot in the Reds rotation.

Prior to his first start this season against the team (New York Mets) that originally selected him in the first round of the 2016 MLB Draft, Justin Dunn hadn't thrown a pitch in a major league game since June of 2021 due to a shoulder injury. So you can understand why David Bell was so quick to get Dunn out of the game.

But, all is well and the right-hander is ready to go tonight in the Windy City. Dunn needs every chance he can get over the final few weeks of the season. Three of the five spots in Cincinnati's starting rotation for the 2023 season seem to be spoken for. Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft will undoubtedly be three of the five pitchers the Reds turn to next season.

But Dunn is certainly in that mix, and may be the leader in the clubhouse if he can prove that he's healthy over the final month-plus of the 2023 season. Dunn, along with to pitching prospect Brandon Williamson and the forgotten but efficient Connor Overton will likely be vying for the No. 4 and No. 5 spots in next year's starting rotation.

In five starts this season, Justin Dunn owns a 4.63 ERA and has 19 strikeouts in 23.1 innings of work. Dunn's WHIP of 1.371 is not awful, but certainly not ideal. Commanding the strike zone and cutting down on the number of walks will be a key component of Dunn's quest to find his way into next year's starting rotation.

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