Rangers not ready to change closer

Dyson will get opportunities to bounce back from early season struggles

Rangers not ready to change closer

ARLINGTON -- Strong relief pitching has always been a difficult area for the Rangers to master for an extended length of time. Once Texas seems to figure it out, it goes through what it did this week against the Indians.

Closer Sam Dyson allowed three runs in an 8-5 loss on Opening Day and five more in a 9-6 defeat on Wednesday. That's eight runs in two outings without completing an inning either time, and an area that looked so strong in Spring Training is now a concern after three games.

"I'm just looking for the next 159 games and trying to at least get a full inning in," Dyson said after Wednesday's game. "I got an out. It's pretty sad. Hopefully I'll get a full inning."

Dyson will get more chances. He has been too good for the Rangers the past two years to be yanked from the role right away.

"I think it's a little early to reconsider things," manager Jeff Banister said. "Look, we have been in this situation before. It doesn't look good, because it's the start of the season. This is a guy that went to the [World Baseball Classic] and looked really sharp."

Banister was asked if this might be a letdown after the World Baseball Classic.

"You've always got to consider it, but we are not going to use it as an excuse," Banister said.

Pitching coach Doug Brocail suggested a flaw in Dyson's delivery.

"He's pulling off the ball," Brocail said. "He's not finishing through to his target. It's an early rollout. It's fixable. [Dyson] warmed up [Tuesday] just in case [he'd be needed], and he felt really good about it. [Bullpen coach Brad Holman] said he looked good."

Changing closers now seems premature, but the Rangers aren't going to let this go for an extended period of time. Banister has changed closers in May each of the past two seasons. In 2015, Shawn Tolleson replaced Neftali Feliz. Last year, Dyson supplanted Tolleson.

The Rangers have options. Jeremy Jeffress closed for the Brewers last year before being acquired by Texas, and Tony Barnette was a closer in Japan. The Rangers expect Matt Bush will one day be a closer because of his stuff.

Bush fans Ramirez

Right now, Dyson has the job, and the Rangers are counting on him getting it together quickly.

"We always consider everything, but off a two-game look, it's not how we want to start the season," Banister said. "When you put runs on the board and have a lead, we feel comfortable we have guys out in the bullpen that can shut the door. We've got to find a way to figure it out. Sam's got to find a way to figure it out. We'll put our heads together and go work on it."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.