Shawn Tolleson was one of the few bright spots of an awful season in 2014, as the Allen native was arguably the most stable piece of the Rangers bullpen and entered 2015 looking to lockdown a high-leverage role.
But he probably didn't envision the role he's seemed to settle into, despite Jeff Banister's talk of a role-less bullpen.
On Wednesday night in Boston, against the Red Sox, in Fenway Park, Tolleson was called upon to protect a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning. To do that, he had to navigate his way through arguably one of the most feared hearts of the order in the game — Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez.
Tolleson got the job done, with one scare coming off the bat of Pedroia on a ball that was hit to the base of the Green Monster to a waiting Delino DeShields. He did allow a hit and gave an intentional free pass to Ortiz, but it was done with relative ease.
"It was trial by fire," Banister said of his "closer."
It sure was, and Tolleson passed the test. Now, he's in the midst of a stretch of six games in which he hasn't allowed a run and has seven strikeouts. We'll see soon enough if Tolleson can continue this success and put the clamps on the closer's job.