The success of your team’s bullpen over the course of a season can make all the difference in the world. If you’re a reliever in a major league bullpen, you’ve got a good understanding of what your role is. The game of baseball is more specialized than ever. There are days and nights when relief pitchers toe the slab more often than their starting counterparts. 2021 has been a better year than expected for the Rangers bullpen. They have stepped up despite some less-than-spectacular circumstances. Here is a look at how the Texas Rangers bullpen has fared thus far in 2021.
Filling the Void
Before the season even got underway, the Rangers lost two key pieces of their bullpen. Right-handers Jonathan Hernandez and Jose Leclerc both went down with shoulder injuries that will keep them on the injured list until the 2022 season–the latter of whom will use the downtime to recover from Tommy John surgery. Hernandez and Leclerc will be missed, but the Rangers have an arm who has been stepping up in their absence. That man is righty Ian Kennedy. Kennedy has appeared in 15 games so far this season, and he has held his ground nicely. In his appearances, he has a record of 0-0, and he has compiled an earned run average of 2.40. He also has 20 strikeouts and a WHIP of o.93. He also has ten saves to his credit in 2021 as he is occupying the closer role until Leclerc returns.
Aside from their interim closer who has been very good, the Rangers have one of the most durable left arms in all of baseball. That left arm belongs to John King. King has surprised a lot of people this year. He has appeared in 13 games to date. In those games, his record stands at 4-2. His earned run average is a very respectable 2.00. He has struck out 14 batters and has a WHIP of 1.33. His ERA suggests that he hasn’t always been given the most run support from his teammates. That aspect of the game is almost completely out of a pitcher’s hands, regardless of whether you’re a reliever or a starter. Fans are definitely looking forward to seeing what King’s numbers look like at the end of the year. He has been one of the most exciting pitchers to watch come out of the Texas Rangers bullpen.
Room for Improvement
The Rangers bullpen has been better than expected, but nobody is perfect. Right-hander Brett de Geus has had his share of problems this year. In 11 games, his earned run average is 5.06. He has struck out 14 batters and holds a WHIP of 1.25. The good news, however, is that it’s only May. He has plenty of time to turn things around. Hopefully, he and Rangers’ pitching coaches Doug Mathis and Brendan Sagara can come up with a plan to help him improve.
The remaining arms that the Rangers have at their disposal are lefties Brett Martin, Hyeon-jong Yang, Taylor Hearn, and Kolby Allard. They also have right-hander Josh Sborz. Kyle Cody was on the team, but he has since been put on the 60-day IL. The Rangers have to be pleased as none of the aforementioned arms have an ERA over 4.00. It is definitely looking like a good year for the Texas Rangers bullpen.
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