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Our Love-Hate Relationship With Closers

Just so nobody thinks we're alone being uncomfortable with our closer in the first 3 games, the Jays returned the favor today scoring 3 in the 9th off closer Francisco to win today's game in Arlington. The same pitcher who was overpowering in the 9th inning of the season opener striking out 2 and got the win when Rangers came back, couldn't seem to get anyone out today. The Orioles closer Mike Gonzalez also blew a 9th inning lead in the season opener against the Rays.

Closing out games, especially with a single run lead must be the most pressure packed role in baseball. With no margin for error and your sole existence being to shut down the opposition for the win, it's amazing that pitchers don't blow more games. No matter how good your team, to go through a whole season like Brad Lidge did in 2008 and record 41 saves without falling apart even once, has got to be one of the best performances of all time.

Every team's closer is expected to blow a handful of games each season. Hitters are considered successful if they fail 7 times out of 10. Yet closers are expected to have a success rate closer to 90%. That would mean 5 blown saves in 52 opportunities such as Joe Nathan did last year with his 47 saves. By its very nature, it takes a special mentality to play the role and most pitchers don't have it.

Jason Frasor has showed some of that mental toughness so far this year. After blowing his first save opportunity, he has returned to record 2 more successes in games two and three. After allowing the lead off man to get on, he has struck out 2 each time before recording the final out. Though scary for the fans, it is just part of the game for teams, their managers, and the closers we love or hate based on last night's save ..........................or blown save.

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