• As Al mentioned yesterday, the Rangers were sticking with a committee of Chris Marin and Shawn Kelley as Leclerc continues to work on his craft. However, the Shawn Kelley and Chris Martin closing tandem is now over for the moment, with Kelley hitting the IL with an infection. This likely helps explain why Chris Martin was used for the previous save as well but with Kelley out for the time being the committee is closed with Martin owning the 9th. The other options in the Rangers bullpen aren’t too compelling so Jose Leclerc will remain on the grid and I have added Airel Jurado to the mix behind him as he has been effective so far in his six appearances maintaining a 0.00 ERA and a compelling 21.4% K-BB%. As far as Leclerc goes, he was used last night and was completely wild, walking three batters without finishing the 9th inning. It wasn’t a save situation but still, after a couple of decent appearances it wasn’t a great sign to see Leclerc struggle again. The Rangers want Leclerc to take back the reins but on the year he has a 181.% BB% and a career low 8.3% SwStr%. His velocity is right where he always is but the whiffs are missing and so is his control. It might not take too many solid appearances for Leclerc to get back into the closer’s chair, but he’s not close at the moment.
• The Rangers are certainly not the only team with a cruddy bullpen as the Braves have struggled all year there and that continued last night. Luke Jackson came on to close a one-run lead last night and blew his second save after David Peralta hit a solo shot off of him. A.J. Minter then started the 10th inning and left with his 4th loss after he allowed a walk, a single, and a game winning single to Ketel Marte. Braves manager Brian Snitker mentioned the idea of demoting Minter since it’s clear he hasn’t been effective since returning from the IL and Snitker mentioned this has more or less been Spring Training for Minter. Although that move has not been made I am going to take Minter off of the committee for the time being. There is no great option for the Braves but I have Luke Jackson, Dan Winkler, and Jacob Webb on the grid, all of who can see the next save opportunity. While every competitive team can be expected to want to improve their bullpen as they prepare for a possible stretch run, the Braves could possibly use that help more than any other team.
• Quick Hits: No save situation for the Cubs as Mike Montgomery went 5 innings in relief to secure the win. However, with all hands on deck for the Cubs pen, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Montgomery pick up a three inning save or two. Wade Davis allowed two earned runs but thankfully entered with a three run lead to secure his 6th save. Davis also struck out the side and with the chaos around so many closing situations, he remains one of the better options for saves. Raisel Iglesias pitched around a hit and a walk for his 7th save. He’s had an up and down season but the Reds are better than their record and he should continue to see consistent saves provided he doesn’t have a prolonged collapse. Domingo Santana hit a homer off of Aroldis Chapman in the 9th but he otherwise held on for the save (8), and Roberto Osuna (9) pitched around a couple base runners as well to hold the lead for the Astros. Sean Doolittle wasn’t handed a save chance but he got the last four outs for Washington. The Nationals pen has been a disaster all year with a league worst 6.29 ERA but Sean Doolittle has held his own with a 1.06 ERA.
When he's not focusing on every team's bullpen situation, Ben can be found blogging at Ben's Baseball Bias and on Twitter @BensBias