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June 25, 2012 at 11:21 pm ET
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You Thought the Save Rule Was F’d…

How about the blown save rule?

Pitcher A enters the game with the bases loaded and no one out with his team up a run in the sixth. The middle infield is playing back for the DP and the pitcher induces the hitter into a perfect 6-4-3. The runs scores but that was OK since that was what the team was conceding.. The pitcher then whiffs the next hitter. He does his job.

Pitcher A gets a blown save.

Pitcher B enters the game in the ninth up by four runs. Calamity ensues, and he allows the tying run in a four-run explosion.

Pitcher B does not get a blown save.

Mediots already give short shrift to the ‘hold’ statistics when they quote blown saves without adding in holds, but I really can’t take any discussion about saves and blown saves now because there’s no context to how hard the save really was to obtain.

Advanced metrics for relievers can solve this riddle but sometimes the formulas and explanations get so complicated that even I, a math geek, need to go back to the glossary to figure out exactly what the metric is measuring.

What I do know is that Heath Bell didn’t get a blown save on Monday night for gagging up a four-run lead. Why? He didn’t enter in a save situation. Whereas, pitcher “A” above entered in a save situation because had he finished the game after entering it in the sixth he would have gotten credit for the save.

I’ve toyed with an idea of a ‘held lead’ / ‘blown lead’ along with ‘held tie’ / ‘blown tie’. Tying run in the batter’s box when you come in – it’s a held lead or held tie. The only issue is how to compensate for a pitcher that allows the tying run to score when he did his job the team asked him to do. But maybe that’s small beer.

What a ‘held lead’ does is give the same credit to a pitcher wiggling out of a jam in the 7th with men on base as to a one-inning wonder coming in with a one-run lead.

That may be a fairer deal. Of course, the agents and mediots who have made their hay in perpetuating the myth of the closer would cry foul. But screw them. The goal is to win games, not pile up stats.



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