Texas Rangers: Could Closer By Committee Actually Work?
By Andrew Webb
The last few weeks the Texas Rangers have been going with closer by committee. It usually doesn’t work for most teams, but have the Rangers found out the secret to going by committee?
On Friday, the Texas Rangers picked up the 5-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals. No late inning heartache for Texas as relievers Matt Bush and Alex Claudio retired six consecutive batters. Has manager Jeff Banister discovered the secret to bullpen by committee?
Lefty Alex Claudio has been one of the few reliable relievers for the Rangers this season. After Friday he now has two saves with a 2.70 ERA in 41 appearances. The 25-year-old came in throwing strikes and was able to hold down the lead.
Finding consistent bullpen pitchers has been a problem for the Rangers all season long. Friday’s victory was the first save a Rangers pitcher has recorded since June 27 in Cleveland. Former closer Matt Bush had opportunities after that, but failed to convert them.
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The Rangers feel that Bush is better off as a middle reliever rather than used in late innings situations. Right now it’s difficult to point out one pitcher on the Rangers that is a “closer” and that could be a good thing.
Instead of one pitcher getting all the opportunities and experience now four or five pitchers could gain late inning experience. Going by committee could help these young Rangers relievers gain some confidence and momentum for the future.
By the end of July if the Rangers are still in it they should probably search for a legitimate closer. If the team is playing for next season then going by committee is the best solution. It’s time to stop naming one pitcher “the closer” and going with the best option available in that situation.
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Manager Jeff Banister might have just saved this team by not naming a closer. That way everyone needs to be ready to close out in the ninth instead of putting it all on one pitcher which clearly hasn’t worked. It’s a small sample size, but this committee bullpen could be exactly what the Rangers needed.