Saves, Holds, and Blown Saves – Baseball Basics


Hey guys, welcome back to 90 Feet From
Home. I’m your host Ashley, and today we’re gonna talk about saves. Right off
the hop — and I know most baseball writers I know are gonna want me to lead with
this: saves don’t matter. I know they’re a stat. I know they look good in a column.
People will bring them up, but just like wins they are not actually a measurement
of a player’s quality. I hope by the time we get to the end of this episode you’ll
understand why they’re not exactly a measure of skill, so much as
circumstances. There are a few requirements that need to be met in
order for a pitcher to qualify as having a save in a game. That pitcher must
finish a game that is won by his team. He cannot have started that game. He is not
the winning pitcher — and a note on this in brief, the winning pitcher is whoever
was on the mound for the winning team in the half inning prior to them taking the
lead. So basically the pitcher of record when that team got ahead. That’s it.
Another reason that wins really don’t matter, because the pitcher didn’t really
do anything to get the team ahead, they were just the last pitcher on the mound
when the offense managed to get ahead. So you can see why wins are also
contentious, but that is not the point of this episode. We’re talking about saves. A
pitcher who gets a save cannot also be the winning pitcher. To get a save, the
pitcher must also have done at least 1/3 of an inning of work. This one I think I
need to explain, because innings are divided in half — the top half of an
inning and the bottom half of an inning — but each half of those innings is then
divided into thirds. And those thirds represent each of the outs in an inning.
So the pitcher and the defense’s goal is to get three outs in an inning. Each one
of those outs is represented by a 1/3 if you see a pitcher having pitched 2
and 1/3 innings in a game, that means they pitched two complete innings with 3
outs, and one out into the 3rd inning. So they were able to get out one batter
somehow in that inning, and then were removed before the inning ended and
another pitcher would then be credited with the remaining 2/3 of that inning or
a mix of pitchers credited with getting those batters out in that inning.
So that’s how the 1/3 thing 2/3 thing works when you’re looking at
pitchers in a game. And to get a save the pitcher must have at least one-third,
meaning at least one out in an inning. One of the three following things must
apply in order for the pitcher to collect a save. The team must have a lead
of no more than three runs, and that pitcher has to pitch at least one full
inning. If he comes in regardless of the count with the tying run either on base
meaning the runner is already there at bat or on deck– meaning that they’re the
next person up to bat — basically if the tying run is anywhere near coming to the
plate or already on base and that pitcher comes in and is able to get out
of that “jam,” that’s what we call it, then that pitcher will be credited with a
save. Or he pitches at least three innings. And that three run lead — the max
three run lead — also still has to apply in all of these situations. Now if a
pitcher comes on and satisfies any of the above criteria but does not finish
the game, then he’s credited with a hold, which is not an official stat but it is
something that people look at. Meaning that he managed to maintain the team’s
lead enough to go to another pitcher or at the very least did not give up the
lead. Basically just means he was able to keep the team in a winning position and
then pass the game off to another pitcher. if a pitcher comes in and there
is a three run or less lead or the tying run is on plate and they allow that
tying run or go-ahead run — meaning the opposing team is now ahead — then this is
considered a “blown save” meaning he does not get the save, and he actually put his team in
danger of losing, or caused his team to lose. Now, funnily enough, a relief pitcher
can blow a save and still be the winning pitcher for the game. As we previously
mentioned, the winning pitcher is simply the pitcher who was on the mound in the
half inning prior to when the team got the leading run. If a relief pitcher
comes on for the save, gives up the tying or go-ahead run, and
if the home team is able to come on in the bottom of that inning and win the
game, then the pitcher who blew the save actually still gets the winning pitcher
nod. Why wins are silly, silly stat. And that is really saves in a nutshell. The
pitcher with the most saves in the history of baseball is Mariano Rivera,
who just last year was unanimously voted into the Hall of Fame, the first baseball
player ever to receive a unanimous vote. I mean we’re talking like the likes of
Hank Aaron, and Babe Ruth, and Ty Cobb Best players in
baseball, no one had ever received a unanimous vote until Mariano Rivera. He
has the most saves in the history of baseball, unlikely to ever be rivaled by
a player, at 652. Now I know I said saves don’t matter, but that is still a pretty
impressive record. And there we have it: Saves. So they may not matter, but now you
know what they mean. Is there a baseball stat or term that you would like to see
defined? Head down to the comments below and let me know. Do you think saves do
matter? Feel free to tell me I’m wrong. Are you a big fan of the win? That’s
all right too! Head down to the comments and tell me so,
I’d love to hear from you. Hit subscribe. If you could do me a favor and hit the like
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will gladly take any suggestions into consideration. Otherwise that’s it for
another episode of Baseball Basics. This has been Saves. Have a wonderful day. Bye!

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