Tolleson Closer Issue Not So Simple

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If Shawn Tolleson and the Rangers' closer's job were in a relationship and they wanted to announce it via Facebook, I think they'd have to go with "it's complicated."

Tolleson isn't the Rangers' best reliever. In fact, he might not even be the third-best reliever.

His stuff is pedestrian with a fastball that tops out in the low 90s and he relies heavily on control and pinpoint precision. He works both sides of the plate, and when his control is off, he is very hittable. That's not the typical makeup of an elite closer.

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Sam Dyson throws hard sinkers running upward of 98 mph and has even added a sick slider this year. Jake Diekman hits triple digits from time to time and comes from a deceiving arm slot on the left side. That, folks, is what closers are made of.

But it was Tolleson in for the ninth inning again on Tuesday with a one-run lead, which was a scenario he came through in on Monday. Tuesday was a different story.

The Rangers are losing too many games with the bullpen, which was supposed to be the unquestioned strength of the team heading into the season. So just take Tolleson out of the ninth inning, right? Well, wait a second.

Dyson faced the vaunted 3-4-5 spots in Toronto's order in the eighth inning on Tuesday, and he retired them. How would you have felt with Tolleson facing that trio in the eighth if Dyson were the unquestioned ninth-inning guy? Not good, I'm guessing.

Jeff Banister has said before that he doesn't have a dedicated ninth-inning guy. Sure, it's usually Tolleson, and maybe that should change soon, but people need to realize the "closer" isn't always the guy you want in the highest of high-leverage spots. Tolleson is showing us that on a daily basis.

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