Friday, October 26, 2007

You Learn Something New Every Day, Week 2

I was talking to my friend Bill, when I asked him what concept I should choose to explore for this week's YLSNED (ils-ned?). He suggested I go with saves, and I responded by saying that most people know what a save is, and then he, a life-long die-hard Red Sox fan (the horror, I know) said that he didn't completely understand the rule.

I guess without Mo on the mound, they just aren't as pretty.

So, in response to Bill, I present:

The Save Rule

A save occurs when a pitcher ends a game under a set of certain circumstances. The pitcher must NOT be the winning pitcher, have pitched at least one out, and he satisfies one of the following conditions:

1) He enters the game with his team up by three runs or less and pitches at least one complete inning. Easy enough. This is where Mo is at his kick-arse best.

2) He enters the game with the tying run on base, at bat or on deck. Thus it is possible to get a save if your team is up by five runs: let's say the Jays are up 5-0 on the Devil Rays in the ninth. Carl Crawford singles, BJ Upton walks, Delmon Young is hit by a pitch, so the bases are loaded. Some dude (Dioner Navarro?) is up at bat, and the dude on deck (oh, why not make it Carlos Peña) then represents the tying run. Thus, a save situation is created, because if Peña scores, the game will be tied, and the Jays' bullpen will have blown yet another ninth-inning lead, but that's besides the point.

3) He pitches at least three innings. This is the circumstance in which the last pitcher for the Texas Rangers, Wes Littleton, pitched on that 23 August (I think) game against Baltimore where they scored 30 runs. It didn't matter that Texas had a 27 run lead; because Littleton pitched three innings, he got a save. This is not a type of save that most closers will ever get, because most closers pitch only one inning, and only in a stretch will they pitch two. Unless you're Mo and it's game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, but then it's not a save because the game was tied and your team has to be winning to get a save.

A Blown Save occurs when a pitcher enters the game with an opportunity to earn a save (called, aptly, a save-situation), but allows the tying run to score.

Even if the pitcher (let's make him K-Rod, just 'cos), holds the game tied and then his team, on the road, comes back to take the lead and he, K-Rod, takes the mound in the bottom of that inning, he can't get a save. He can, however, get a win.

Blown saves are not officially kept, but most stat keepers keep track of it.

So that's the Save Rule as of 2007. It's generally not a very questioned rule, but when Littleton did get that three-inning save, there were a lot of '...buh?' and '...wha?' that went around.

Always give credit

And now I need to work on my costume, it needs to be finished by tomorrow night!


  1. Blown saves are sometimes as losses, though. So they can be kept that way. But sometimes your team picks you up and take the lead back if you only give up a tying run or if theree is another half inning to be played. So sometimes you can see blown saves.

    Sorry. I babble when I'm tired.

    This little segment reminds me of Joe Girardi's little part of Yankees On Deck.

  2. I can remember when the save rule came out, and it made perfect sense at the time, that a pitcher who pitched the last three innings no matter what the score, etc. would get a save. Circumstances made that opportunity a lot more rare these past few years. Wonder what woulda happened if Wes Littleton had earned a "blown save" in the 30-run game? ;-)

  3. By the way, I like this feature [YLSNED] quite a bit :-)

  4. Andrea: Yep.

    Charles: Thank you! My favorite day of the week is Sunday, personally, but I do enjoy the rest of them!

  5. I'm glad you just wrote "yep" cause that means you got what I was saying. In case someone else is reading that and is like "what the hell?", I meant to say, "Blown saves are sometimes DOCUMENTED as losses."

    I suck.

  6. Andrea--MM, I'm the master of understanding babble!