Texas Rangers: Let’s pay homage to the saving grace of the season
By Travis Koch
Now, the Texas Rangers have one of the league’s best bullpens. The pen is tied for the 5th best bullpen ERA (3.73) in the AL. Also, their 90 walks are the 5th fewest in the AL and their .245 BAA (Batting Average Against) is the 7th best. It is safe to say the previously mentioned concerns were answered in resounding fashion.
Keone Kela is one of two closers with 10+ plus saves who has yet to blow a save. The other is Houston Astros’ Ken Giles, but he’s only 11-for-11 in converted saves compared to Kela’s 17-for-17. Kela has proved himself as a legitimate closer. He throws an upper-90s mph fastball and he possesses a wipeout curveball. His dominant stuff is evidenced by his stunning .191 BAA. Kela has been a standout star. In fact, he has pitched well enough to be voted in as the Texas Rangers all-star representative in 2018.
Every reliever who pitches before Kela has done an outstanding job as well. After iffy starts to the year from Jake Diekman, Claudio and Chavez, all three have proven to be primary contributors to Rangers’ wins. Diekman has taken over in the set-up role. As a matter of fact, Banister let him close a game out in a save situation Wednesday night against the Kansas City Royals. Claudio has regained form and Chavez has fulfilled his role as the team’s long reliever just about to perfection.
In addition, the team shed some weight by releasing veteran reliever Kevin Jepsen. This move opened Jose Leclerc to increased opportunity and Leclerc has not disappointed.