Saves, Blown Saves, and Broxton


After Jonathan Broxton blew the save on
Saturday, I knew everyone was going to be all over him. What was it?
His third blow save in five chances? Sure enough. It was just like
Wednesday all over again. Except instead of everyone bashing
Guillermo Mota, it was Jonathan Broxton. It’s kinda funny how on
Wednesday, there were tons of callers who wanted to know why Broxton
wasn’t put in on Wednesday. Yet, on Saturday, there were just as many
callers who wanted to know why Broxton WAS put in on Saturday. Then
today, I was listening to the Mason and Ireland show on 710 ESPN
(because they actually talk sports over there, whereas I only listen
to KABC when the game is on and for Dodger Talk). They were asking
people about what Joe Torre should do with Jonathan Broxton. Plan A)
Keep putting him in there. Plan B) take him out of the closer role
and put Sherrill in instead. Those were basically the two sides. How
about some stats now?

Jonathan Broxton is 7th in the NL with
25 saves in 30 save opportunities. That’s at least five blown saves.
Who are the top six ahead of Broxton? R. Franklin (Cardinals, 30/32
with 2 – 1 record); Heath Bell (Padres, 29/31 with a 5 – 2 record);
Huston Street (Rockies, 29/30 with a 3 – 1 record); Brian Wilson
(Giants 28/34 with 5 – 5 record); Trevor Hoffman (Brewers, 26/28 with
1 – 1 record); Francisco Rodriguez (Mets, 26/31 with a 3 – 4 record).
Broxton also has more wins than anyone else (7) and no losses. Brad
Lidge, last year’s closer extraordinarre is 10 with 23 saves in 31
chances, has a record of 0 – 5.

Now in the Majors… Broxton
is 12th. Closers to note… Brian Fuentes (Angels) has 34 saves in 39
opportunities with a 1 – 3 record. The other four closers in the AL
who have more saves than Broxton have smaller differentials (is that
the right word that I’m looking for?) of one to three. And again ….
Broxton is the ONLY one in the top 15 – 20 closers listed to NOT lose
a game. He blew a few saves … but has never LOST a game. Even
George Sherrill, the guy everyone wants to step in has 20 saves in 23
opportunities with a 0 – 1 record. Broxton also has the most wins.
And not all of them came from saves he blew. Remember, he has come in
when the game was tied to keep the game close … and then the team
won in their bottom half of the inning … something the Dodgers have
done a LOT this year.

It’s August. Playoffs are right around
the corner. And in light of recent events, everyone is probably
panicking. Right? Wonder if everyone in Phillie is reacting to Brad
Lidge the way people here in L.A. are reacting to Broxton. Remember?
Lidge blew back to back saves here in L.A. Even Brian Wilson has more
blown saves than Broxton. At least, from what I’m looking at it looks
like it. There’s no column for blown saves. I can only assume that if
I take the number of saves a player has and subtract it from the save
opportunities, that should equal the number of blown saves.

Naturally, the top closers in both
leagues are Mariano Rivera (Yankees, 35/36 with a 1 – 2 record) and
Brian Fuentes. We haven’t even talked about ERA’s … which can be
tough, considering most of the time, these guys come in to pitch only
one inning. So their ERA’s may be a little different than your usual
pitcher. After all, these guys face three guys minimum when they come
in. Let’s say of the top 20 pitchers with the most saves … Broxton
is 12th with a ERA of 3.19. Only 11 other pitchers have a
better ERA. What’s Mr. 41 for 41 last year got? Lidge’s ERA is a
little above 7. Even the saves leader from last year has an ERA above
4.

Last stat I looked at … home runs
given up. Broxton has given up four. Again, I’m only looking at the
top twenty pitchers with the most saves. Four other pitchers have
given up two, two have given up three (Sherrill being of the of the
two). Huston Street is the other pitcher to given up four. Everyone
else has given up five or more homeruns. Lidge falls second to last
with 10.

Should Dodger fans be panicking when
Broxton comes in to close? Like someone said on the radio today, if
he’s throwing (I forgot the speed, but I think it was in the low
90’s), then maybe. But you just have to keep putting him out there
and have confidence in the guy. Am I panicking when he comes out? No.
Am I little worried? Yeah, just a little. Just as I’m a little
apprehensive when James McDonald comes out in relief. Same goes with
Guillermo Mota. And Jeff Weaver. And Ronald Belisario. Then again,
that’s just the bullpen. They’re relief pitchers and sometimes …
they don’t give you the relief you’re looking for. Just apprehension.
Some times they come through. Some times they don’t. But hey, that’s
baseball for you.

My opinion? I wouldn’t mind seeing
Sherrill come in and close once in awhile. But I also know that
Broxton can close out the game. Lights out. Game over.

Stats Taken from MLB.com

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