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Rangers Looking to End the “Closer Curse”

Former closer Sam Dyson has been designated for assignment, reliever Jose LeClerc activated from DL

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The tenure of Sam Dyson in a Texas uniform appears to be over.

The Rangers have designated their former closer for assignment, which means they have 10 days to trade, release or send him to the minors.

It’s a move that really isn’t that surprising considering Dyson’s struggles this season. The righty has a 1-6 record in 17 appearances out of the bullpen and is 0-4 in save opportunities. The word “opportunities” is key here since the Rangers gave him plenty of chance of righting the ship after he lost his closer role. After all, Dyson was 40 of 45 in save chances since coming to Texas in a trade during the 2015 season so he at least deserved a shot.

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What happened? Was it a loss in confidence?

Maybe.

Dyson struggled with his “money pitch” this season, the sinker. When you have a sinker that doesn’t sink, you may start to lose confidence in that pitch and either trying to force the issue or resort to using other parts of your repertoire that may not be up to par. Dyson could never regain the magic he had last year in escaping trouble and closing the show.

We’ve read this book before when it comes to changes to the Rangers closer spot.

Dyson got the gig after the downfall of Shawn Tolleson as the closer. Just like Dyson, Tolleson was coming off a 2015 season where he notched 35 saves with Dyson as the set-up man. However, the Allen High School product lost the job last year after owning an ERA over nine despite 11 saves.

And don’t forget how Tolleson won the job in 2015. He replaced Neftali Feliz, who was waived due to his issues as closer. Can’t help but notice a pattern here.

So now the pressure to break the “Closer Curse” likely falls on Matt Bush. The righty has six saves in eight chances to go along with a 1.37 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. Bush will also bring the heat out of the pen with 21 strikeouts and only five walks in 19.2 innings this season. Not bad for someone who was selected number one overall in 2004 by the San Diego Padres as a shortstop.

Even though bullpen pieces come and go, the Rangers are desperately looking to get away from the “Flavor of the Year” issue that has haunted the back end of the pen over the last couple of years.

Now it’s Bush’s turn to buck the trend and claim the spot as his own for years to come.

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