It’s official. The Rangers bullpen is in crisis mode.
Their closer isn’t Jose Leclerc.
It’s not Will Smith.
Maybe it’s Brock Burke or Jonathan Hernandez.
Last night’s shocking defeat was the fifth blown save the Rangers have endured in the past eleven games. That’s five losses that should have been wins. Those wins would come in September when the Rangers are fighting for a playoff spot.
Three heart-breaking losses in being swept in Cincinnati. Wednesday’s collapse against Arizona. And now last night’s meltdown in Anaheim. They need to find answers before they let too many wins get away.
Ignoring the bullpen was always a weakness of Jon Daniels, one of his many. Chris Young trained his attention on the rotation and finding another left field bat and didn’t do much of anything to bolster the bullpen. They went into the season without a closer they could rely on. They knew Leclerc was iffy. They know Jonathan Hernandez was iffy. And they picked up Will Smith at the end of the offseason on a wing and a prayer. He had lost his closer role in Atlanta, the year they won the World Series, no less, was traded to Houston, last year when they won the World Series, where he was not only not closing games, he wasn’t even added to their playoff roster.
The Rangers took a chance that maybe there was a bit of closer magic still left in his arm. Maybe there is. But he has proven to be hittable.
Maybe last night’s game was just one of those blips a closer goes through. But he was just “officially” named the closer a few days ago, and in his first act as closer he coughs up four runs to not only blow a three-run lead but to be the losing pitcher on top of that. It’s not a confidence builder when you set the restaurant kitchen on fire the first day you work there.
The Rangers bullpen is in crisis mode.
They need to find a closer.
They will not make the playoffs unless they do.