Who takes the mound in the 8th inning?
Recent approach: It’s anybody’s game
Fix: Jake Diekman/Jose Leclerc
The 8th inning is for pitchers with excellent stuff—pitchers that can put hitters away. Jake Diekman’s mid-90s fastball and wipeout slider will do the trick. In addition, his 3/4 arm slot makes for an uncomfortable at-bat. Unfortunately, that arm slot can also result in control issues, at times.
Nevertheless, Diekman has an experienced arm that has handled many 8th innings throughout its career. Jose Leclerc, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily have the experience, but he does have his own version of a wipeout pitch.
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Leclerc’s changeup/slider/cut-change—whatever you want to call it—is a baffling pitch for opposing hitters. Jose Leclerc has yet to give up a run in eight innings pitched this year. He is averaging over a strikeout per inning and has a solid 0.500 WHIP.
Leclerc has a very impressive .119 career opponent’s batting average against left-handed hitters. And he’s not to shabby against right-handed hitters either, allowing just a .205 opponent’s batting average.
Jake Diekman has struggled early; however, he’ll work things out in the long run. Ultimately, an 8th inning entrusted to Diekman and/or Leclerc will work out well.