The Braves started the season with three Closers™ in the bullpen. At the end, there was only one, Soriano, who should start the year as the closer. Since the Braves’ closer role is cursed, something eventually will happen to him, but for now it seems in good hands.

Soriano was great in most of his appearances, but when he gave up runs tended to give them up in bunches. He had four appearances in which he allowed three earned runs each time, for a total of twelve; he had 67 other appearances, and allowed a total of twelve earned runs in all of those combined. (He allowed two unearned runs, one of them in one of the four three-run appearances.) Actually, he also had two appearances in which he gave up two runs, meaning he had 65 in which he allowed a total of eight earned runs. All in all, in came to a 3.00 ERA. It’s a matter of opinion if it’s better to allow all your runs in a few appearances or spread them out. (Well, I’m sure it’s been studied, anyone know the solution?)

Soriano’s biggest problem was home runs, as he allowed twelve, far more than any other reliever on the Braves’ ground-ball-oriented staff. This actually argues in favor of using him as a closer, because other relievers often come in with runners on base. Did his best pitching in the closer role and allowed a line of .099/.172/.209 when pitching the ninth inning. Was also best on short rest, pitching very well the day after pitching or with only one day off, not as well with two or more days off. The difference wasn’t really that great, though. Allowed ten of his runs, including five of his homers, in just 43 PA when the score wasn’t close (more than four runs).

Rafael Soriano Statistics –