Leclerc earns a save. 36 comments

Mike Minor retired the first nineteen batters he faced and left the game after seven dominating innings having allowed only one hit.


Usually you have to close out the ninth inning to earn a save. Last night, Jose Leclerc earned one by getting the last out of the eighth inning.

Keona Kela earned the official save, but Jose Leclerc saved his manager Jeff Banister from catastrophe. He saved his manager from one of his most bone-headed decisions by pulling starter Mike Minor after just seven as-near-to-perfect-possible innings and only 85 pitches.

It was the kind of decision that had everyone scratching their heads and asking, “Why?”

It’s what Mike Minor said to Banister when he was informed he was coming out of the game.


It’s what Rangers fans throughout the Ballpark shouted out as the saw a different pitcher come out for the eighth inning.


It’s what the Rangers post-game announcers asked Jeff Banister after the game, and what callers to the post-game show asked.


Time after time, Banister breaks the cardinal sin of removing a dominating pitcher for no other reason than he can. Time after time he gets burned.

He got lucky last night it didn’t happen again. Jose Leclerc saved him from being mobbed by an angry crowd—if you can call the 12,000 in attendance at the Ballpark a crowd.

The minute he gave the Padres the chance to come back, they nearly. Chris Martin came in and gave them a double, a single, and a double around one strike out. Banister brought in Leclerc to bail him out of the mess of his own making. Leclerc promptly walked a guy to load the bases then walked a run in. He was able to get that last out, but it was shaky and it was a nail biter and it was unnecessary.

After the game Banister tried to explain his decision but even he didn’t believe what he was saying. It was exactly like the game three years ago when Martin Perez brought an 84-pitch shutout gem into the ninth and Banister pulled him, only to watch his bullpen nearly crater on that occasion as well. After that game he rationalized that Perez had recently come off the DL and he wanted to keep his pitch count down, forgetting that just five days before Perez had thrown even more pitches.

After last night’s game he hemmed and hawed and bumbled and tried to come up a reason about it being time and he was on his normal rest and something about the full moon and his zodiac sign. But it was Banispeak.

Mike Minor was brilliant, dominating, virtually unhittable. And disrespected by his manager.

Banister was lucky he was playing a team that was just as bad as his own.

He was lucky he got lucky.