Reliever Matt Bush has been stripped of the closer role, and it could be time for Keone Kela to shine in Arlington. It’s surprising Bush got an opportunity at closer before Kela, but better late than never.
This season Kela is 4-1 with a 2.64 ERA in 30 games with one save. The 24-year-old has allowed just three home runs, and could be a real threat in the closer role. Kela has allowed 14 hits in 30.2 innings, and struck out 42 batters.
Everything we’ve seen from Kela screams closer, but the Rangers have been hesitant to give him a chance. The 2017 season is Kela’s third in the MLB, but he’s been mainly a middle reliever. He has just two career saves, and the team could be worried he’s not experienced enough.
Since his debut in 2015 Kela has always looked like a closer, but the Rangers always overlooked him. They destined him to a middle relief role, but his stuff and stats always screamed closer. Maybe the Rangers don’t see that “closer” mentality in Kela, but they should give him a chance.
The Rangers are going closer by committee until someone proves they can do the job. It might not be long before Kela takes the role and runs with it. He should be given a shot to prove he has what it takes to hold down the ninth inning.