Dyson can't get a grip on closer's role

Dyson can't get a grip on closer's role

SEATTLE -- It was a topic of discussion even before the events of the ninth inning in the Rangers' 8-7 loss to the Mariners on Sunday afternoon at Safeco Field. It's sure to be an even more spirited conversation in the aftermath.

Rangers manager Jeff Banister wouldn't say Sam Dyson has lost his grip on the closer's role for Texas after the right-hander's third blown save and third loss in six games this season, but the results haven't been there, and that showed up in particularly excruciating fashion for the Rangers on Sunday.

"I'm not going to talk about my confidence in Sam right now," Banister said. "We'll have those discussions. It's obvious that we need for Sam to be good."

Dyson had been working on mechanical issues for four days after beginning the season with a 33.00 ERA and an 0-for-2 mark in saves. Then he entered the Rangers' 5-0 defeat on Saturday night and tuned up with a scoreless inning.

On Sunday, the stage was set for his return to his usual gig. A back-and-forth offensive battle tipped in the Rangers' favor in the top of the ninth inning in dramatic fashion when Nomar Mazara's solo home run off Mariners closer Edwin Diaz gave the Rangers a 7-6 lead.

Mazara's go-ahead homer

But in a game of inches in which the Rangers had already been robbed of a two-run homer when Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger made a leaping catch of a Joey Gallo fly ball in the eighth inning, once again the mojo was not with Texas.

Mariners outfielder Jarrod Dyson led off the bottom of the ninth with a comeback ground ball that left the bat at a manageable 91 mph, according to Statcast™. Sam Dyson put up his bare right hand to snag it, but the ball glanced off his finger, and that was all the speedy baserunner needed to leg out a single.

Jarrod Dyson stole second and the next batter, Leonys Martin, bunted between the mound and the third-base line. Again, Sam Dyson was iffy in the field, fielding the ball even though the third baseman, Gallo, had broken to it as well. When Sam Dyson looked for the throw at third, there was no defender covering.

"I thought I had an out at third," he said. "I didn't know what the [heck] I was doing. I screwed it up. It's my fault. It's a [bad] feeling."

It got worse when Martin stole second uncontested, prompting Banister to intentionally walk Mike Freeman. Dyson walked Haniger to tie the game and after getting Robinson Cano to hit a ground-ball 4-2 fielder's choice, Nelson Cruz ended it with yet another ground ball, a bleeder up the middle that a diving Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus just couldn't quite handle.

"I'm not getting the job done," Dyson said.

If the Rangers do decide to demote Dyson from the closer role, they could use Matt Bush, who looked electric striking out the side in the eighth with upper-90s heat in his first appearance since getting a cortisone shot for his sore AC joint. They could also use hard-throwing rookie Jose Leclerc, who has impressed of late.

But Banister didn't get specific.

"We'll have those discussions," Banister repeated.

Meanwhile, for Dyson, there isn't any mystery about how frustrating things have gotten.

"I'm borderline [ticked] off and angry," he said. "You'd think so after the four outings I've had."

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.