LeBlanc was credited with his first save despite giving up three earned runs on four hits over three innings in Saturday's 14-5 victory over the Blue Jays. He struck out two. The veteran lefty endured a rough eighth inning, giving up a 401-foot solo homer to Michael Saunders and two-run shot to Justin Smoak two batters later. LeBlanc has had some trouble with the long ball in July, giving up six homers over the 19.1 innings spanning three starts and Saturday's relief appearance. The 31-year-old figures to remain in a relief role until the Mariners need a fifth starter again on Aug. 2.
LeBlanc appears in line to be skipped in the rotation next week, as the Mariners have several off days that will allow them to work with a four-man rotation. The Mariners won't need a fifth starter again until Aug. 2 against the Red Sox, and LeBlanc is not listed as a projected starter next week. He has a 3.63 ERA through four starts, although his 4.57 FIP suggests he's been a bit fortunate. In most formats he is nothing more than a streaming option in favorable matchups.
LeBlanc allowed three runs on nine hits and a walk with six strikeouts over seven innings in Monday's no-decision against the White Sox. LeBlanc did what he could to keep the Mariners in the game against an ace-type performance from Chris Sale, and indeed the Mariners managed to win it with four runs in the ninth. LeBlanc now has three quality starts in his four starts with the Mariners and a sharp 16:4 K:BB in 21.1 innings to back it up. He won't rack up the strikeouts with a fastball that sits in the high 80s, but his control will give him a chance to go deep into games every time out.
LeBlanc earned his first major-league win since 2014 on Friday, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk in six innings against the Orioles. He struck out five. LeBlanc's been effective in both of his starts since the Mariners acquired him. He allowed a leadoff homer in the second inning, but otherwise was barely touched, throwing 81 pitches (52 for strikes). He would seem to be the odd man out when Felix Hernandez returns after the All-Star break, but it wouldn't be surprising if the Mariners kept him in the rotation over Wade Miley, who has allowed at least four runs in eight of his 14 starts, as long as he continues to give them quality innings.
LeBlanc will get the start Friday against the Orioles, Shannon Drayer of MyNorthwest.com reports. LeBlanc was traded to the team Wednesday and pitched six scoreless innings in his Mariners debut Friday against the Cardinals. He will now get his second start with the club, facing the Orioles on Friday as Nate Karns slides to the bullpen.