Palumbo has made three appearances/two starts for the Rangers this season, pitching to an 11.00 ERA in only nine innings. He was better in his last game, July 7 at Minnesota, throwing three scoreless innings of relief.
He nursed an ankle injury much of July, but has convinced the Rangers that he is ready for Tuesday by allowing three runs in his first two August starts with Triple A Nashville. He then threw six no-hit innings Thursday night, walking two.
Palumbo is 3-0 with a 3.67 ERA over 80 2/3 innings this season over two minor-league levels. He has 108 strikeouts.
What happens after his start could be just as interesting as what he does against the Angels.
“We’re still talking about that internally,” manager Chris Woodward said.
The Rangers will need to add a second starter before the doubleheader after demoting Pedro Payano late Thursday. Woodward said that the Rangers could go with a straight six-man rotation in which each starter pitches on five days’ rest. The Rangers could also drop a starter and stick with a five-man rotation.
That would keep left-hander Mike Minor and right-hander Lance Lynn, the Rangers’ two best starter, pitching on their normal turn the rest of the season. Woodward said that six starters would make keeping Minor and Lynn on turn too complicated.
“It, obviously, has something to do with Lance and Minor,” Woodward said. “I think from Aug. 20 on, we’ll have a clearer solution as to what we’re going to do with that.”
The good news is that Palumbo isn’t nearing an innings limit because of the time he missed last month. Woodward, though, isn’t so sure if the Rangers will impose a limit on Kolby Allard.
The lefty, acquired July 30 from the Atlanta Braves, pitched twice for the Rangers on their recent road trip and earned his first career win Wednesday. He has thrown 125 innings this season, 115 in the minors, and has passed his 2018 total (120 1/3).
Allard could approach or surpass his career-high of 150 innings in 2017. He said that he is not feeling the effects of his 2019 workload.
“Body, arm, everything, I feel as strong as I did in spring training,” said Allard, who turned 22 on Tuesday. “I’ve always wanted to be that guy who’s going to go out there and you can count on him for 200 innings a year.”
The Rangers have yet to discuss their limit for Allard, Woodward said, but there likely will be a limit.
“Hopefully that’s the case where we actually have to discuss that,” Woodward said. “I’m assuming we don’t want him to throw 180 innings.”
If the Rangers go with a five-man rotation that includes Palumbo and Allard, right-handers Ariel Jurado and Pedro Payano would be candidates to lose their starting spot.