If You're Hardcore: Who's next for saves in Texas?
Updated: May 22, 2008, 1:47 PM ETBy Will Harris | Special to ESPN.com
C.J. Wilson is the latest struggling stopper hearing murmurs about his job security. The 27-year-old left-hander shared the role with Joaquin Benoit last year before emerging as the club's principal ninth-inning option. Benoit is struggling as well this year, though, making it tough for the Rangers to pull the plug on Wilson and his 5.03 ERA. Will the talented pair iron out their issues? Does Texas have any other viable options?
Wilson's problem is mainly a precipitous drop in strikeouts, exacerbated by a continued rise in walks. His command is simply AWOL right now, but he's pitched fewer than 20 innings and likely will straighten out if given time.
Time is a luxury Wilson may be afforded, thanks to the fact that Benoit -- his chief challenger for the closer's role -- has been nearly as dreadful this season. Benoit, who like Wilson has been a strikeout pitcher with spotty control, is suffering the same loss of command. In Benoit's case, however, the strikeout rate is healthy, but the control even worse than usual. Benoit likely will improve as well, and could get a shot at a few saves if Wilson doesn't show better command soon. The Rangers definitely need one of the two to recapture past form, as the club has few quality relief options.
Caleb Simpson-US PRESSWIREJoaquin Benoit hasn't done himself any favors in regaining the Rangers' closer's job.
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