No closer crisis. 127 comments

After nearly blowing a three-run lead, Jose Leclerc will continue getting the ball in the ninth inning.


Jose Leclerc’s struggles in the ninth continued yesterday. Should that sound alarms? Is the Rangers magical season in jeopardy?


The funny thing about closers is they are interchangeable drill bits. When one breaks, you run to the tool box and get another.

What happened when Neftali Feliz stopped being effective? The Rangers plucked Joakim Soria off the end of the bench to be the closer. And he was great. Until he wasn’t. So they looked down the end of the dugout and found Shawn Tolleson. Who was great. Until he wasn’t. No worries, Sam Dyson is sitting there. He was great until he wasn’t. Then Alex Claudio was the guy. Then Matt Bush was the guy. And when they stopped working, the Rangers stuck Keona Kela in that role. He was great until he wasn’t. Then they found Jose Leclerc.

And now might be time to replace Jose Leclerc. No big deal. Here comes Shawn Kelley.

The role of the closer is over-rated. Sure, you absolutely need one. But they’re not that difficult to find. That was proven again yesterday.

Jose Leclerc showed why the cheapest stat in baseball is the three-out save. You have to be a special brand of bad to blow a three-run lead in the ninth. Leclerc was about as bad as a relief pitcher could get and the Rangers still didn’t blow the lead. They tried. It helps that the brand of baseball now is Homer, Walk or Strikeout and the Astros helped him out of the jam he created.

But when Leclerc failed once again, Shawn Kelley came in and closed it out. No big deal. One closer breaks down, shake a tree and find another. Maybe that’s why Craig Kimbrel is still looking for a job. He’s asking for $100 million dollars to do a job that isn’t as special as he’d like you to believe. It seems teams are figuring that out now. (And maybe not just with the closer, maybe with second basemen.)

There are very few Mariano Riveras. The closer isn’t a god. He’s the guy who gets the last out. It’s not easy. But it’s not hard to find someone who can do it. Teams do it all the time.

Rangers manager Chris Woodward said he is sticking with Leclerc in the ninth inning for now. He thinks Leclerc is tipping his pitches, which is easily solvable. That’s, of course is if that’s the real problem.

So, for now, there is no closer crises. But, when it comes, needing a new closer should be met with all the same sense of doom as needing to put air in your tires.

No big deal. Next in line.


Mike Minor (2-1, 2.60) vs. Chris Bassitt (—-)
Game time: 9:07