Friday, April 15, 2011

The Blown Save Quandry

Wednesdays White Sox game got me thinking about something that I hadn't really thought of before but I find rather interesting. As they have all season the White Sox were yet again unable to close out a save situation. As Matt Thornton's parting gift to One Bad Pitch he added yet another blown save to his previous three. What made this blown save different and what I found intriguing was how it unfolded.

When Chris Sale started the 9th the Sox had a 4-1 lead. He quickly gave up 3 hits and a run and left the game without getting an out. Jesse Crain then came in and walked one and struck out one to have the bases loaded with one out. In steps Mr. Thornton who strikes out the first man he faces but then gives up a game tying hit. He gets the next guy out to end the ninth and then loses in the 10th.

The purpose of this post and why this game caught my attention is a hypothetical one. If Thornton had given up another hit and run in the ninth inning he would have still gotten the blown save but not the loss and Jesse Crain, who was responsible for the runner stranded at second in the ninth, would have gotten the loss but not the blown save. If Crain is responsible for the loss should he not also be charged with the blown save? More importantly why do I have to lose 8 points because Sale and Crain can't get people out? Just another interesting quirk in the MLB rule book and some food for thought next time your closer enters the game with men already on base.


  1. When we sign a reliever, or any player for that matter, we are stuck with their manager as well. Another factor for that Hunchmaster 3.x!

  2. That's an interesting scenario. I had to go back and read the play by play.

    If another run would have crossed in the 9th, Crain would have got the loss because he would have been responsible for giving up the go ahead run. In this case all 3 runners that scored were let on by Sale. Crain actually gets credited with a Hold, as he came in with the lead, didn't allow any runs to score, and wasn't responsible for the guys who later scored. That shows you how worthless the hold stat is.
    Thornton is obviously credited with a blown save, as he came in with the lead, and didn't save the game, but allowed the team to lose the lead, even though it was inherited runners that scored. The goal of the closer is to preserve the lead and not let inherited runners score.
    It seems like Sale should get a blown save as well, as he was charged with the run that gave up the lead. However, he simply gets off the hook with a no decision.
    It seems like Crain should get a blown save as well on account of being in a save opportunity and not converting. +1 for Crain I guess. I just hope they don't start putting Holds on the back of baseball cards.

  3. Were Crain and Sale also given BSVs? I have seen more than one BSV in a single game.
    My solution for the White Sox pen, and for other teams that find themselves in similar situations of bullpen ineffectiveness, is CGs. Ozzie needs to let his starters finish what they start - especially when Danks is cruising through 8 and the opposition is completely stymied. Or when Burhele is barely at 90 pitches through 8 innings. I'd rather have those horses 8 innings tired than anyone from that bullpen right about now.
    Just because Tony LaRussa implemented this "closer" mentality we see prevalent in MLB today, doesn't mean guys can't or shouldn't finish games out. It can do worlds of good to give struggling bullpens the entire game off.
    Good post, Matt! Well Done!

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  5. I don't want to hear any more bad mouthing of Jesse Crain. Maybe the reason he didn't pitch well is because I haven't worn my Jesse Crain player shirt in a while. That is going to change right now! Go Knights!!!!

  6. I recommend wearing a Crain shirt at a game in which he pitches! Thanks for the loan, Skies.