July is in the rear-view mirror now, so let’s take a look at all the disastrous carnage that came out of the bullpen in the guise of relief pitching.
It’s been a while since we witnessed such a horrendous month since Matt Thornton blew like fifty saves in early 2011, but the Milwaukee Brewers decided that they were up to the task to remind us of the volatility of relief pitching. Heading into July, John Axford and Francisco Rodriguez were sitting on four and two blown saves apiece, fairly unsuspecting and middle of the pack. By the time July ended, the two of them sit atop the leaderboard for blown saves with seven and six apiece. For the individual month, K-Rod bested Axford with four blown saves in the month, the highest individual total for the year so far. We here would be lying if we said that there’s not a smirk on our faces when hearing K-Rod’s name as having that honor.
Regardless, add in the contributions of Kameron Loe (2 BS) and Livan Hernandez (1 BS), and the Milwaukee Brewers blew and astounding 10 save situations in July. BS,W has only been running since the start of 2011, but this is the highest single month total for a team we’ve recorded.
As a total, the Brewers have a majors-best/worst 22 blown saves total. This is more than half the total of the entire AL West. Keep it going, boys.
And now the rest of the stats and analysis for the month:
As bad as the Brewers were, the Toronto Blue Jays get the big red-O this month, as the only team to go the entire 31-day calendar month without having blown a single save situation. O Canada, indeed.
To no surprise, the National League once again blew more saves than the American League. The final score was 50-36. I wonder if the scores next year will be 40-something to 40-something once the number of teams is evened out, or if the AL really is just superior than the NL. The total number of blown saves in MLB as of August 1st is 357.
The St. Louis Cardinals were the most improved team in July, shaving four blown saves off their previous month’s mark. The Houston Astros share the dishonor with the Brewers as two teams that managed to regress the most, with both teams blowing four more saves than in June. It’s hard to imagine that the Brewers could actually get worse from six blown saves, but I guess everyone can thank K-Rod for that.
As a whole, the NL West was the most improved division, cutting four blown saves off their previous month. In spite of the contributions of the Astros and Brewers, the NL Central miraculously neither got better or worse than June, and stood pat at a stinking, unsightly 24 blown saves. The NL East slipped a little, and blew three more saves than the previous month. Yet it all evens out to 50 total blown saves in the National League, exactly what they blew a month ago.
Once again, the Houston Astros make the honor roll, winning/losing out in yet another category: team with the most number of relievers to blow saves. Five different relievers blew it for the ’stros in July, and they’re quite lucky that the Brewers were so much worse, cumulatively, because seven blown saves in a single month is pretty unacceptable.
On four different days in July, Major League Baseball went a 24-hour span with not a single player blowing a save situation. Two of those days were days in which not every single team played (7/15, 7/26), but two days not only had a full 15-game schedule, one of those days (7/7) had 16 games, courtesy of a double-header. Way to buckle down and prevent futility on those days, relievers.
Nine different pitchers had touched the holy grail of Blown Save, Win in July.
One correction made this month: Joaquin Benoit of the Tigers had a blown save on April 27th, that snuck through the cracks. This has been rectified, and the Tigers have been credited with one more blown save than the previous month’s charts show.