It is no secret that our bullpen has been really bad, on the verge of history bad, but the number of blown saves is a bit skewed. For the season we have 27 blown saves, which is way too many, but if you look into those blown saves you realize that it is not as horrible as people make it out to be.
First of all is our record in the games which we blew a save. It is 11-14 (we had two games where we blew two saves). This is a big deal because a lot of people make it seem like we lost all every game in which a save was blown. Now if we had zero blown saves we would be seven games in front of the Cubs, but that is unreasiltic. If our bullpen were an NL average bullpen we would have blown 16 saves and if we had won the same percentage of games as we have in our blown saves we would be 6-10 in save situations. Meaning with an average bullpen we would be three games behind the Cubs.
But the main point I am trying to make is not that we should be better or how good we could be. It is that the stat of 27 blown saves is overrated. Obviously the fact we have 11 wins in blown saves means you don't lose every game in which a save is blown, which I think some people believe.
Another misconception is that all of the blown saves have come in the ninth inning. In fact only 12 have come in the ninth or in extra innings. This is what I would call a real save situation, a situation where the pitcher is actually trying to pick up a save. The other 15 BS have come in situations where the pitcher was trying to pick up a hold. So maybe there needs to be a blown hold stat.
This points not only to the need for a closer, but also a need of a set up men. I think we have plenty solid arms in McClellan, Perez, Springer, and Garcia, but they just need defined roles. Izzy showed us yesterday that he can still get people out and I think I am one of the few who think Franklin could still be a viable option in the pen. I think the biggest necissity is not adding another arm, but giving roles to the arms we have. Is Springer our sixth inning guy or our eighth inning guy. Should McClellan, Izzy, and Franklin be pitching multiple innings or should that be left to Thompson and Garcia. I think making Perez the closer would help some, but I think more importantly is getting Wainwright back in the rotation to give us four pitchers who can actually go seven every outing. Defining roles would allow players to be more comfortable and a player comfortable with their role is going to pitch better.
I guess I have made three points in this post.
1. The 27 blown saves aren't as horrible as they sound. They are bad, but even with an average bullpen we would only gain four games.
2. The blown saves have not all come in the ninth, and 15 could be called blown holds making the blown saves stat skewed.
3. To fix the bullpen, adding players or releasing players is not needed, but Tony and Dave need to reorganize and define the roles of each member of the bullpen.