With the first month of the 2012 season in the books, let’s take a glance at the volatile world of relief pitching, and see what we’ve got.
Heath Bell is off to the races and has went and blown three saves to lead the major leagues. It’s a shame too, considering on a personal level, I’m a fan of Bell’s, even if he did move within my division and plays for the now Miami Marlins.
Last year, the Seattle Mariners were the one team to get out of April without blowing a single save. They wasted no time in getting that monkey off their back this year, as it took them literally two games, in another continent no less, to blow their first save, as Shawn Kelley blew it while the Mariners played the Athletics in Japan.
This year, the Tampa Bay Rays are the one team that managed to come out of April without any blown saves. I’d say a large part of that has to do with the fact that the volatile and inconsistent Kyle Farnsworth went on the 60-day disabled list for an elbow strain, but taking his place is the oft-tight rope-walking Fernando Rodney who has managed to go 8-for-8 in his save chances. Now nobody needs to be told that on a long enough timeline, nothing last, but in the case of Rodney and the Rays, this really shouldn’t last much longer at all.
The stats, and more analysis after the jump, because we’re all a bunch of nerds.
So, for those who are keeping count, there have been 10 blown saves so far in the 2012 MLB season. It may seem like a lot, but compared to April of 2011, it’s actually an improvement, of a whopping 20 saves. Granted, that’s pretty much Ryan Franklin and Matt Thornton combined, but still, improvement is improvement.
44 vs. 36 is the difference between the American League and the National League. Despite the fact that the Angels‘ tried to even things up by leading the majors in blown saves, the stingy Yankees, Rangers and Twins have only blown a single save apiece.
The Mets, Blue Jays, Royals and Angels are the teams with four different pitchers blowing saves in April.
And in the most important stat, of the site’s namesake, there have been six relievers to have blown the save, but hang in there long enough to still vulture the now-up-for-grabs winning decision.