Leclerc allowed a run on three hits and a walk over 1.2 innings Sunday, striking out one batter as the opener in a win over Minnesota. Leclerc kept the Twins off the board in the first, but a two-out RBI triple from Byron Buxton ended his afternoon. The 25-year-old owns a 4.65 ERA, and the Rangers seemingly are going to stick with Shawn Kelley as the closer to start the second half of the season.
Leclerc allowed one hit while striking out three over an inning in Saturday's 7-4 loss to the Twins. Leclerc raised his strikeout percentage to 36.4, which ranks 11th among all relievers. The right-hander, who pitched for the first time in four days and needed 30 pitches, is scheduled to open Sunday's game and will have a few bullets left but probably won't go more than one inning.
Leclerc allowed a run on two hits while striking out two over an inning in Tuesday's 9-5 win over Boston. Leclerc entered the game in the seventh inning with the Rangers ahead by six runs, a low-leverage spot in contrast to his recent usage. He's now permitted runs in three straight appearances while putting five men on base (four hits, one HBP). The silver lining is that he's throwing strikes (67 percent) and hasn't walked a batter, but whether he'll reclaim the closer role remains to be seen.
Leclerc (1-2) was credited with the loss when he allowed two runs on two hits and struck out one over one inning against the Athletics on Friday. Leclerc entered a tie game to start the ninth and gave up a two-out, two-run homer to Marcus Semien. The other hit allowed was when Jurickson Profar, batting left-handed, bounced a grounder off the end of the bat that stayed fair up the third-base line, which Profar turned into a double against the Rangers' shift. Leclerc has pitched brilliantly over the past month, so manager Chris Woodward was not phased by the runs. "Pitchers are gonna give up homers," Woodward told T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. "I'm not worried about that at all. I felt like his command was good. He's throwing strikes, and like I said, the cue ball down the third-base line. It's ridiculous to even be concerned about that. The homer? He challenged a guy, and the guy hit it. Semien's a good hitter. I know he's hurt us in the past, but it's not that easy to hit 98 [mph] middle-away, but he hit it." Shawn Kelley remains the Rangers' closer, but Leclerc appears to be getting closer to the point when Woodward will use him in a save situation.
Leclerc was given the night off Thursday, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports. The Rangers beat the Orioles, 4-3, and Shawn Kelley nailed down his seventh save while Leclerc looked on from the bullpen. It's unclear if Leclerc would have been given the save chance had he not thrown 26 pitches over two shutout innings the previous night. There was closer speculation brewing after Wednesday's game in which Kelley had blown his second save in five outings, but it appears Rangers manager Chris Woodward will continue to rely on Kelley to close out games.