Texas Rangers have a very serious problem with Jose Leclerc

This cannot continue.
Texas Rangers relief pitcher Jose Leclerc (25) pitches
Texas Rangers relief pitcher Jose Leclerc (25) pitches / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Every single Texas Rangers fan who watched last year's run through the postseason knew that this was a bad idea. But the Rangers handed the closer's job to Jose Leclerc anyway, and fans have already seen him struggle this season. Leclerc came on in a non-save situation during Wednesday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays, and almost blew a 4-0 lead.

In fact, if Rays shortstop José Caballero had swung by Crabby's Beachside Bites and grabbed a protein shake from the Tropicana Field concession stand before his final at-bat, he might have had enough juice to tie the game up in the ninth inning. Instead, his fly ball to left-center field fell into the glove of Travis Jankowski about three feet short of clearing the fence.

Going forward, Rangers manager Bruce Bochy cannot trust Leclerc in big situations. Though the right-hander is currently considered the Rangers closer, that's a title that can't last all season. Look for David Robertson, Josh Sborz, or Kirby Yates to eventually assume the closer's role.

Texas Rangers have a very serious problem with Jose LeClerc

It's not a matter of if Leclerc is replaced, but when. It would seem, based on how the Rangers season has unfolded to this point, that Bochy will stick with the 30-year-old for now. But a 20.25 ERA and just one strikeout on the season are not a good indicator of what's to come.

Walks have also been an issue through Leclerc's first three outings. The right-hander has allowed five batters to reach via the walk. That equates to 16.9 walks per nine innings pitched. While that number is drastically inflated due to the absurdly small sample size, free passes have continually been an issue for Leclerc over the years. Walks (and home runs) were an issue for Leclerc during spring training as well.

Leclerc pitched exceedingly well in the World Series last October; there's no denying that. But during the Rangers' ALCS matchup with the Houston Astros, Leclerc walked five batters in 5.1 innings pitched while allowing four runs on four hits. Leclerc is just too inconsistent to be called upon in clutch situations.

Robertson has 175 saves during his major league career, so at least the Rangers have a backup plan. Leclerc's struggles are worth keeping an eye on this season, and if they continue, Bochy cannot be afraid to make a change.

More Rangers News from Nolan Writin'