Fantasy baseball reliever watch: Aroldis Chapman time in Texas?

There seems to be a changing of the guard at closer for the Rangers. Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

It seemed inevitable when the Texas Rangers traded for veteran LHP Aroldis Chapman that manager Bruce Bochy would move him into the full-time closer role at some point and push out veteran LHP Will Smith. Chapman, who was mostly thriving (except for the walks) for the Kansas City Royals, came over for now-intriguing LHP Cole Ragans in late June. Smith was closing capably, and while Bochy claimed each "proven closer" would save games, it did not happen. Smith kept closing. That figures to change now.

Yes, both Chapman and Smith blew saves in Monday's painful road loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, but not in remotely the same way. Chapman was the preferred choice to enter in the ninth inning with the 1-0 lead and, well, Ketel Marte homered. OK, stuff happens, and it was the first home run (or earned run) Chapman allowed in four weeks. He finished the ninth and handled the 10th inning sans further incident. Chapman's season ERA is 2.28. He is second among relief pitchers in strikeout percentage for the season (to Orioles RHP Felix Bautista) and since the All-Star break (to Brewers RHP Devin Williams).

Smith entered in the 11th inning Monday with a 3-1 lead and, after two quick outs and a curious intentional walk to Marte, permitted a Geraldo Perdomo double to right field and a Tommy Pham gapper into right-center to plate the two runs to win it for the Diamondbacks. Smith has allowed runs in five of seven appearances (9 ER in 5⅓ IP), blowing two saves. He has struck out three of 28 hitters in that span. Chapman has three strikeouts in five of his past 12 outings alone. Change was inevitable, and it likely happened during Monday's game -- and was solidified afterward.