Woodward clearly still views Leclerc as the team's closer of the future, though the manager doesn't want the right-hander to lose confidence amidst his early-season struggles (8.44 ERA, 2.16 WHIP and 14:9 K:BB through 10.2 innings). As such, it sounds like Shawn Kelley and Chris Martin are the leading candidates to temporarily see late-inning opportunities while Leclerc works through some kinks.
Woodward has been supportive of Leclerc through his early season stumbles, but his thinking changed following Tuesday's blown save. "We are going to discuss it," Woodward said. "I don't want to say that just yet. Obviously with a young guy, you don't want to kill the kid's confidence. I would love to keep giving him the ball, but I have to be mindful of where his mental state is. He wants the ball, but he doesn't want to feel he's letting his teammates down. It's a tough situation for him." One of the alternatives is Shawn Kelley, who has a 1.50 ERA this season and 16 career saves. Chris Martin, who served as a closer for a year in Japan, is another.
Leclerc allowed three runs on four hits with two strikeouts in a blown save against the Pirates on Tuesday.
The Rangers held the dormant Pirates offense to no runs through eight innings, but Leclerc ruined the shutout and win. The first three Pirates hitters Leclerc faced reached with hits. He seemed to steady himself with two straight strikeouts, moving within an out of escaping his own mess, but then Josh Bell doubled in two runs to tie the game. Bell ran into an out on the play to end the frame, otherwise, it would have been interesting to see if Leclerc remained in the game after blowing the lead. Rangers manager Chris Woodward has remained supportive of Leclerc in the closer role, but he's now just 5-for-7 in save opportunities with an 8.44 ERA and 2.16 WHIP. He's struck out 14 in 10.2 innings, but Leclerc also has nine walks.
Leclerc was pulled in the ninth inning after allowing two earned runs on a hit and four walks while striking out one across two-thirds of an inning. However, Woodward gave Leclerc a vote of confidence after the game, saying he was still the team's closer and further elaborating that Leclerc's struggles may be the result of tipping his pitches. It's been a rough start to the campaign, as Leclerc has a 7.88 ERA and 1.88 WHIP across eight innings with nine strikeouts and seven walks.
Leclerc gave up one run on one hit with a walk while striking out two to earn his fifth save of the season in a 5-4 win over the Angels on Wednesday.
Entering the game with a two-run lead, Leclerc made it interesting by loading the bases and working out of it while only allowing one run. Even though he has a 6.14 ERA, the 25-year-old has five saves and continues to get opportunities for the time being.
|6/26/2019 vs Detroit|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
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|More Pitching Stats|
|Minor League Pitching Stats|
|2014||AFA-Myrtle Beach Pelican||4||1||3.30||42||0||0||0||14||57.1||39||23||21||8||2||37||79|
|2016||AAA-Round Rock Express||2||2||2.72||29||0||0||0||1||43.0||23||13||13||3||0||28||50|