Texas Rangers: 4 players that are key to the Rangers making the playoffs

The marathon of a season for the Texas Rangers has now turned into a sprint and in order for Texas to win the race they will need these four players to play very well down the home stretch.
Texas Rangers v Cleveland Guardians
Texas Rangers v Cleveland Guardians / Ron Schwane/GettyImages
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#2 Jose Leclerc

Bochy is taking a more unconventional route to managing his bullpen lately which has been successful. He has leaned on pitchers such as Martin Perez and Cody Bradford more lately in late game situations. One pitcher who he has felt comfortable with in the late innings is Jose Leclerc. He has brought Leclerc primarily in the seventh inning or later. He has used Leclerc as that bridge guy to get to a more matchup oriented eighth inning and then Chapman in the ninth. It appears that will be Leclerc's role going forward the rest of the season and into the postseason.

Leclerc has been successful in walking the tightrope he sometimes puts himself into. He still is having some issues with walks this month, but he is navigating it and coming through with pitches when it matters. He has holds in his last two appearances including a tight situation against the Blue Jays on Thursday night. The score was 4-2 with a runner on first. He struck out the first two batters he faced then walked Bo Bichette to put the tying run on first with Vladimir Guerrero Jr up at the plate. Guerrero worked the count full and on the sixth pitch, Leclerc struck him out to end the inning and preserve the 4-2 lead.

Bochy is likely to call upon Leclerc in key situations down the stretch with runners on base or no runners on and a close game. Texas will need Leclerc to come through in these situations and hand the ball off to whoever is next out of the pen. If he is shaky and lacking confidence in his pitches that will make it much harder for Texas to hold onto these games late. He is absolutely one of the more important pitchers in the entire bullpen these last two-plus weeks.