When it comes to baseball, it's pretty rare to find me relying on stats and logic as opposed to blind rage and reactionary violence - but that's exactly what I'm going to try to do here.
So, Chris Ray. We're all a pretty pissed off after the most recent meltdown, but let's try to look at the big picture for a second. His stats are a bit of an enigma right now. Let's break it down, while keeping the SMALL SAMPLE SIZE caveat in mind...
A quick glimpse at the season totals looks a little scary - a closer with an ERA of 4.05 and 4 very memorable blown saves in 16 opportunites.
His splits with men on base this season are hideous. BAA with runners on 1B = 7.71, with RISP = 19.29 and with the bases loaded, are you ready for this? 243.00
Oddly, some of Chris' peripherals actually suggest that he is improving this year. His K/9 and K/BB rates have improved (2006: 6.95 and 1.89, 2007: 8.78 and 2.89, respectively)and his Groundball to Flyball rates have improved as well.
So, what does that all mean? I'll be damned if I know. But here's what I do know - Chris is the closer and whether we like it or not, I still think he's the best pitcher in the bullpen right now. I mean, do you want Chad Bradford closing? Good closers get beat sometimes, especially by Vladdy Guerrero, A-Rod and the Red Sox. Those are good good hitters on good teams and that is what they do - they beat your closer and they win close ballgames. As Chris Ray will tell you, if you make a mistake against them, you will absolutely not get away with it. Papelbon got beat by A-Rod last night, Rivera got lit in the beginnings of the past few seasons and hell - Todd Jones got beat by the Devil Rays the other week. Chris Ray is younger and in most cases, cheaper than any of those guys (btw, I am not suggesting I wouldn't rather have Papelbon than Ray. I'm just throwing some examples out there for comparison). The average save coversion rate is around 78%, right now Chris is just below that at 75%. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that while my heart says "Homeboy is getting ROCKED. What are we going to DO???", my head says that he'll turn out OK and he is still a good value - ride it out. I going to try to listen to my head...until Ray's next blown save, at which point I will probably set something on fire.