Sunday, June 7, 2015

Blowing it in the bullpen

Jays Bullpen really not good under pressure

I know it sounds like I am stating the obvious. The Jays have now had 10 blown saves, but if we take a look at the numbers closely, we can see exactly how the Jays are losing leads late in the game.

A save opportunity is when a pitcher enters the game in a save situation. To be clear, a save situation is when a pitcher enters the game in the 7th inning or later with a lead of three runs or less or the potential tying run is on deck, at bat, or on base.

For this purpose, I am going to include games where the Jays were tied going into the inning to show how games are lost. I am not including starting pitchers -- only relievers.

  • In 8 innings late where the game was tied at the start of the inning, the Jays have let in runs in 4 of those 8 innings. 
  • When the Jays start an inning up by one run: - 3 successful holds (the last successful hold was April 12 - Loup held a one run lead on April 27, only to be blown by Osuna in the 8th) - 7 blown saves - none of these in the 9th inning. 
In all situations where the Jays are tied or up by one run in the 9th, the Jays relief allows runs. All of the closer saves have been recorded with leads of 2 (3) or 3 (3) runs. Read this again, the Jays have yet to record a one-run save.

  • When the Jays start an inning up by two runs: - 6 successful holds - 2 blown saves (both belonging to Loup) 
  •  When the Jays start an inning up by three runs: - 10 successful holds - nothing blown 
So, the conclusion here is pretty troubling. The Jays when holding a one run lead are 30% likely to hold that lead (3 for 10). That is pretty awful.

The detailed stats on baseball reference are just as awful. The Jays save percentage at 6 for 16 is 37.5%; the league average is 72%. In save situations (not including today's game) opponents have an OPS of .875 (.300 / .366 / .509), an ERA of 6.59 and a WHIP of 1.537. The league average is 1.104.

So, despite the fact that when you look at Reliever stats overall, it comes as a complete surprise then that the Jays pen is 5th in OPS overall at .670, 5th in BA at .225, 4th in WHIP and 11th in ERA.

So, the news is that if the Jays are tied or up by one run late in games, the bullpen has given up the lead. This is why fans get nervous when they see the bullpen show up in a close or tie game and why the twitterverse erupts in rage -- the bullpen pitches terribly. In fact, the last time the Jays bullpen DID NOT give up runs in a tie situation or one run lead was Osuna back on April 12. Here is the detail of all 11 games since where the Jays bullpen entered the game tied or with a one run lead since. There are NO games where the Jays were able to hold a tie game or one run lead.

April 14 - Castro enters game in 8th inning in a 2-2 tie, gives up a crappy bunt single. Sousa steals 2nd and advances to 3rd on a throwing error. SF brings him home. Jays lose 3-2 to Tampa.

April 17 - Cecil enters the game in the 8th inning in a 5-5 tie with the Braves, gives up a home run in the 2nd pitch, allows two more runs. Jays lose 8-7.

April 18 - Castro enters the game to save in the 9th inning. Gives up a home run to the 1st batter he faces. In a bright spot, Cecil hold the Braves in the top of the 10th and Donaldson hits a walk-off home run.

April 25 - With the Jays up 2-1 on the Rays in the bottom of the 8th, with two out, Osuna gives up a single. Cecil then gives up another single. Castro comes in, gives up 2 doubles. Jays lose 4-2.

April 27 - at Boston, with the Jays up 5-4, Osuna enters the game in the bottom of the 8th, gives up two singles, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly to blow the save. Miguel Castro enters the 9th in a tie game and gives up two singles, a wild pitch, and another single to blow the game. RedSox win 6-5.

May 20 - in the top of the 7th, with Hutch struggling against the Angels, Steve Delabar comes in inheriting runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 out, Jays up 3-2.  He throws a wild pitch on an 0-1 count and then gives up a two run double. Jays lose 4-3.

May 26 - vs the White Sox, with the Jays up 7-6 in the top of the 8th and a hold by Osuna in the 7th, Hendriks gives up three runs to go down by 2 runs. A dramatic walk off home run by Donaldson in the bottom of the 9th vs David Roberston gives the Jays the win.

May 27 - vs the Sox again, with a 3-3 tie after a Jays comeback, Osuna gives up two. Jays lose 5-3 in 10.

May 30 - at Minnesota, tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 7th, Loup gives up a triple (likely over the head of Cotabello or Valencia). Jays lose 3-2.

May 31 - at the Twins, up 5-4 in the bottom of the 7th, Osuna out for his 2nd inning of relief. A Jose Reyes error followed by a single leads to a Tommy Hunter double scoring two. Twins win 6-5.

June 7 - home to Houston, up 3-2, Bo Schultz gives up 4. The Jays do manage to win this one again in walk off style winning 7-6 in a very lucky bottom of the 9th.

June 9 - Home to Miami, tied 2-2. Osuna comes on and gives up a homer to Stanton. Jays WIN 4-3 on another walk off HR by Edwin. Holy crap.

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