Jose Leclerc may not be the Rangers closer much longer

May 1, 2019

Texas Rangers – Jose Leclerc’s struggles continued on Tuesday night, as he blew a 3-0 lead thanks to two doubles and two infield singles. He hasn’t pitched a clean inning since April 3, which is not optimal. After the game, Chris Woodward declined to outright remove Leclerc from the closer’s role. However, he did say that the team will discuss that option and perhaps give Leclerc some outings that are a little less stressful. We wouldn’t be shocked if Woodward makes a decision this afternoon, so if Chris Martin or Shawn Kelley are available in your league, they are worth stashing. Martin pitched the eighth and Kelley pitched the seventh last night, but Kelley has better numbers this year and that all-important closing experience.

Hierarchy remains: Leclerc | Martin | Kelley.

Los Angeles Angels — Ty Buttrey faced the 2-3-4 hitters in the eighth inning and retired them all to keep the game tied. After the Angels took the lead in the bottom half of the frame, Hansel Robles got the ball in the ninth and recorded his second save of the season. We had mentioned earlier this month that Buttrey may get the highest-leverage work of the game, which would free up Robles for more save chances. That seems to have been the case here. Buttrey certainly could get save opportunities of his own, but we’ll move Robles up to the top spot in the hierarchy based on tonight’s usage. 

Updated hierarchy: *Robles | Buttrey | Garcia.
* = closer-by-committee

New York Mets – With Edwin Diaz getting a night off, Jeurys Familia was in line for a multi-inning save and secured five outs in a row, which pleased manager Mickey Callaway. Unfortunately for Familia, he needed six outs for the save, and after a walk and three singles, the Reds tied the game. The Mets came back and won, but Familia proved that the Vulture Save Watch can only predict save chances. It can’t convert them, too.

Hierarchy remains: Diaz | Familia | Lugo.

St. Louis Cardinals – As the Vulture Save Watch predicted, Jordan Hicks got the night off and Andrew Miller recorded the final two outs of Tuesday’s win to collect his first save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Hicks | Miller | Gant. 

Chicago Cubs – With Pedro Strop presumably unavailable, Steve Cishek got the final out of the eighth and stayed on for the ninth with the Cubs leading by a run. Cishek allowed the first two runners to reach, but his defense turned a 6-4-3 double play and Cishek struck out Jay Bruce looking with a runner on third to earn his first save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: *Strop | Cishek | Kintzler.
* = closer-by-committee

Milwaukee Brewers – Junior Guerra nearly completed a three-inning save on Tuesday, striking out the first six hitters he faced before finding trouble in the ninth. Guerra got one out before a walk and an RBI double was enough to summon Josh Hader to finish the job. Hader allowed a two-run homer but closed out the game. Expect Guerra to continue to get high-leverage work now that Alex Wilson has been designated for assignment.

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Jeffress | Guerra.


1. Kelvin Herrera/Jace Fry/Aaron Bummer – Both Alex Colome and Kelvin Herrera got yesterday off due to a postponement after they had gone back to back and three of four. Depending on how the first game goes today, Herrera, or Jace Fry or Aaron Bummer could vulture a save in the nightcap.
2. Jared Hughes – Raisel Iglesias pitched two innings (28 pitches) on Monday and threw 17 more pitches on Tuesday.
3. Seth Lugo – Edwin Diaz should be available tonight, but Seth Lugo may vulture a save chance if Diaz is held out again.

1. Jeurys Familia/Seth Lugo – If Diaz does make his fourth appearance in five days on Wednesday, there’s a good chance he’s held out of Thursday’s matinee.