Jose Leclerc held out with shoulder tightness; Jonathan Hernandez or Edinson Volquez could fill in

July 30, 2020

Texas Rangers — Jose Leclerc was warming up to pitch the ninth on Wednesday regardless of the scoreline, but ended up sitting down due to shoulder tightness. With Jonathan Hernandez and Jesse Chavez having already pitched (poorly), this left Nick Goody to pick up his first career save. Goody does not normally factor into the later innings for Texas. Holding out Leclerc was precautionary, but he’ll be evaluated with an MRI today. If he requires time off, Hernandez has pitched the eighth in both of Texas’s wins, and Edinson Volquez is a more seasoned option being mentioned by beat writers.

Updated hierarchy: Leclerc | Hernandez | Volquez.

Washington Nationals – Daniel Hudson continued his good form to begin the year, pitching the last two outs of the seventh and a clean eighth in a tie game, then picking up the win. Sean Doolittle needed rest, so his absence today wasn’t too suspicious, but his early usage hasn’t been what you’d expect from a closer, and Hudson is getting a lot of high-leverage work. Until Doolittle blows a save, it’s hard to move him from the top spot, but we repeat that now’s the time to grab Hudson. Meanwhile, Tanner Rainey struck out the side with a four-run lead, and seems to have Dave Martinez’s trust at the moment. We will slot him at second in line based on this usage.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Hudson | Rainey.

1. Buck Farmer/Jose Cisnero — Joe Jimenez pitched last night, making it back-to-back and three of four. Buck Farmer has also thrown in two straight, but only needed 19 pitches. 
2. Matt Barnes — Brandon Workman has gone back-to-back, including a 30-pitch save last night. 
3. Nick Wittgren — Brad Hand has also pitched back-to-back, and has struggled in his last two outings. Terry Francona has said he will be patient with Hand, but we think Hand might get a rest based on usage today. 
4. Blake Treinen/Pedro Baez — Kenley Jansen has appeared in two straight games and three of four. 

1. Jonathan Hernandez/Edinson Volquez — If LeClerc misses time, one of these two guys should be the Rangers’ fill-in closer.