Ray's three big league seasons:
IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2005 40.2 34 15 12 5 18 43 2.66 1.28
2006 66.0 45 22 20 10 27 51 2.73 1.09
2007 36.2 33 22 21 5 15 33 5.15 1.31
Somethin' gone wrong.
Ray's 2006 was accompanied by luck, that much has been made clear to us 100 times. But I think many of us -- myself included -- assumed or at least strongly hoped that the loss of that luck would be counteracted by Ray pitching better, considering he's now a third-year pro.
That hasn't so much happened. A skeptic could have seen Ray have a down year in 2007 pretty easily, but I don't think anyone expected he would flat-out suck, which has been the case. We're not even at the All-Star break and our closer has six losses on his record. Wins and losses are what they are, yes, but no one wants their closer having six losses midway through a season. Or ten decisions, even. Or four blown saves, though that is a stat that often fails to tell the true story (which is even worse), and this is one of those cases.
Ray has been pretty putrid. Of his 13 saves, only one has come with a one-run lead. Ray also saved a 3-2 game against Washington on May 19, but that second run was his doing. And that is the only time he's managed to give up a run and still come out credited with the save. The four wins are something, and they're useful, but even if you give him a pat on the back for that, he still sucks.
When Baez got signed, there were a few people who figured he was insurance for Ray should Ray falter. Turns out neither of them are worth a damn this season.
But as far appointing a new closer goes, I don't see the point. If they went with a young guy like Jim Hoey, the leash would be so short that he probably couldn't screw up more than twice before they went back to Ray or into a committee approach. It's not like Chris Ray is knocking us out of the pennant race, no matter how poorly he's pitching. And I'm sick of him, too, but in reality, the best option is to leave him alone, let him try to work out his kinks, figure out if he's doing something wrong mechanically or whatever, and just ride it out. He's 25 years old and has had big league success, and he's going to be cheap for a good while yet.
If he keeps failing, then figure out a move for him. But right now I don't see what it would help for the team to publicly lose confidence. If he's any kind of closer at all, he'll battle back. If he's not, then deal with it later.