It does no good right now stating the obvious, which is: if you don’t have a bullpen you can rely on, quit relying on it. It’s too obvious to expect starters to go longer into games. It’s too easy of a solution to push starters to seven and—gasp!—even eight innings or more. It worked for baseball for over one hundred years so there is some millions of games’ worth of body of evidence that it could work.
But it does no good to bring up the long-term solution now.
The short-term solution, if you are going to play nightly bullpen roulette, is to figure out a closer immediately.
Texas could go the trade route. But they need to stand in line after the Washington Nationals, who have actually blown more ninth-inning leads than the Rangers. They have a great team this year that is playing for something. And they have the resources and reason to get that closer over the Rangers. Any available legitimate closer will land in Washington first.
It looks like the Rangers are going to have to look for help from within. Is it Kela? Leclerc? Jeremy Jeffress had been a good closer for the Brewers at one time. Serious consideration has to be given to Tanner Scheppers. His stuff is electric. But so is my toaster and that caught fire two weeks ago.
What about one of the less than successful starters? I had suggested in the off-season that one solution might be Andrew Cashner. He hadn’t been much of a starter in the past few seasons, yet Daniels threw stupid money at the guy. He did get off to a great start but is coming back to earth in the rotation. Could he be a viable option?
Or Martin Perez. His career as a starter has been disappointing. Give him one inning, let him air it out, and he might be ideal for the role. Because he is far from perfect as a starter.
Give Austin Bibens-Dirkx a shot. It could be the perfect ending to his Cinderella season.
And whatever happened to Jake Diekman? He was supposed to be due back in July. It’s now July. He had surgery on his colon and had to wear a colostomy bag for a few months. Which is ironic because, like the Rangers bullpen, he, too, has been sporting a bag of crap all season.
Cole Hamels (2-0, 4.38) vs. Derek Holland (5-7, 4.26)
Game time: 1:10