Jose Leclerc worked around a couple of walks to earn second save
The right-hander took over after a lead-off walk in the eighth and retired the side to preserve a 1-0 lead. It was a situation that previously may have freaked him out. Not anymore.
"Last year, if I was in the situation like [Friday night] I’d probably get nervous," said Leclerc, who has a 2.03 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings this season. "I didn’t know what I had to do and how I needed to do it."
Leclerc has gained confidence as he gains more major league experience since making his debut in 2016.
"Part of it is I’ve asked him to do that so many times he understands what it feels like," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Experiences, whether they’re negative or positive he’s had the ability to learn from both."
And he's learned to manage his pace and take a breath, if necessary. Before his last two pitches Friday night, Banister said, Leclerc gathered himself on the mound.
"He actually paused right before the last two pitches," Banister said. "Before he might have rushed through that situation before. He calmed himself down and told himself 'one pitch at a time.' His thought process is so much better."
Leclerc said he feels better prepared this year and has excitement, not nerves.
"When you do something and make it routine, that's what I feel right now," he said.