Not to put too fine of a point on it, but teams struggle without reliable bullpen arms and a proficient closer. Year after year, teams fall by the wayside as late-inning relievers turn over leads and cost their club valuable ground in the standings. With that in mind, we’re keeping weekly tabs on blown saves, noting which teams have the least effective bullpens.
Tampa Bay Rays – 23 Blown Saves
Over the past week, the Tampa Bay Rays added two blown saves to their MLB-leading total and are heading into the break with a modest 54.0% conversation rate. Still, only one of those missed opportunities came back to haunt the Rays, as they ended the week with a sterling 6-1 record.
The Rays continue to deploy a committee approach with four pitchers getting a chance to close things out since last Monday. Brooks Raley was the most effective of the bunch, cashing two saves while pitching 3.1 shutout innings and striking out five. However, Jason Adam, Colin Poche, and Jalen Beeks got in on the action, saving one game each.
Blown saves notwithstanding, the Rays bullpen heads into the break as one of the best units in the majors. Tampa relievers have combined for the fifth-most strikeouts, seventh-best earned run average, and third-most wins. If they can shore up their late-game deficiencies, they should be a lock for a playoff berth for the fourth straight season.
Boston Red Sox – 20 Blown Saves
With all five teams at .500 or better, AL East games will be appointment viewing as we head into the stretch drive. As we saw in the first half, the Boston Red Sox’s late-game collapses could hold them back as they fight for a spot in the postseason.
Red Sox relievers converted just one of three saves over the last seven days maintaining their position with the second-most blown saves. Worse, they now have more blown saves (20) than conversions (19), making them the only team in the MLB with a save rate below 50.0%.
This week, Tanner Houck and John Schreiber were saddled with blown saves. Although, Houck managed to come away with a win as the Sox came back to win in extra innings against the New York Yankees. With no defined closer and a bullpen that continues to struggle, the Red Sox could be on the outside looking in come October.
Atlanta Braves – 18 Blown Saves
It was business as usual for the defending World Series Champion Atlanta Braves, who ended the week with a perfect 4-for-4 week in the saves department. The Braves were elevated by the return of their closer Kenley Jansen but have shown that their pen is one of their most significant assets.
At face value, Jansen’s two saves look good; however, a few concerns could impact his effectiveness over the latter half of the season. The two-time Trevor Hoffman Reliever of the Year award winner struck out only two batters through 3.0 innings pitched, giving up a solo shot against the Washington Nationals but still preserving the save en route to a 5-4 win.
Nevertheless, the Braves have several pitchers they can turn to late in games if Jansen falters or requires more time on the injured list to address his irregular heartbeat. A.J. Minter was filthy as the closer in Jansen’s absence, and Will Smith showed he could still deal from the bump. With the bullpen seemingly healthy, this could be the last appearance Atlanta makes on the blown saves list.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.