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The Coors Effect


August 26, 2009 6:21 AM

The oddity of the "blown save" stat

I admit to not having much understanding of the blown save.

Take tonight.  Rafael Betancourt came on in the ninth (with Huston Street having the night off, presumably because he'd pitched three straight days and seven of the past nine) with a two-run lead and promptly gave up a single, a double, and a sac fly, giving up a run and leaving with a man on third.

Joe Beimel then came on to retire Andre Ethier, after which Matt Daley came in.  Two outs, runner on third, one-run lead, and Manny Ramirez at the plate.  Manny, being Manny, gets a base hit and brings home the runner on third.

Explain this to me: Betancourt gets charged with two earned runs, obviously.  Yet Betancourt gets credited with a hold, while Daley (for giving up a run in a situation in which, quite frankly, most pitchers probably would have given up a run; I mean, coming in to face Manny with a runner on third?) gets a blown save.  While, obviously, Daley would have gotten a save had he retired Manny and he allowed the run to score, it otherwise defies logic to charge Daley with a blown save for letting a runner on third who was on when he entered the game score the tying run.  Betancourt's poor relief work was the ultimate reason for the blown lead; why, then, does he get credited with a hold?  Both earned runs were charged to him, so why do the statkeepers not charge the blown save where it truly lies and not to a relief pitcher who came on later?

Anyway, the Rockies ended up winning the game. However, it's clear that Jim Tracy will need to limit Huston Street's work down the stretch; a good place to start would be to not use him in save situations (two of his seven previous appearances were not), so that he'll be available to pitch when the Rockies do need him.

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