2022 MLB Blown Saves

by Grant White, SportsGrid

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 – 29 Blown Saves

The Tampa Bay Rays maintained their distinction as the team with the most blown saves, but they looked good doing it this week. Cumulatively, Rays pitchers combined for a sparkling 1.47 earned run average, going 5-1 overall, including 3-for-3 in save chances. 

Manager Kevin Cash continues to deploy a committee approach late in games, with three different pitchers closing out games this past week. Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, and Pete Fairbanks each recorded a save while combining for 16 strikeouts across 9.2 innings pitched while allowing just four baserunners. 

The Rays need their bullpen at their best down the stretch. That’s amplified by the absence of AL Cy Young frontrunner Shane McClanahan, who was placed on the 15-day injured list with shoulder impingement. There’s just under a month left in the regular season, and the further Tampa Bay moves up this list, the less likely they have a postseason berth come October.

Chicago Cubs – 27 Blown Saves

Two more failed conversions moved the Chicago Cubs closer to the league lead in blown saves. However, Chicago can’t pin their frustration exclusively on its relievers, as the team compiled a 6.27 earned run average over the past seven days.

In his lone MLB appearance, Brendon Little failed to contain the Toronto Blue Jays offense, giving up three earned runs in 0.2 innings pitched and earning a ‘BS’ on the stat sheet. That was a similar fate that Manuel Rodriguez suffered the day before, allowing Cavan Biggio to come around to score in the bottom of the eighth against the same Jays squad. The Cubbies went on to lose both games, although it was inconsequential to their position in the standings. 

Ill-defined positions in the Cubs bullpen will continue to limit their success to end the campaign. The more concerning trend is their bullpen appears to be a disaster, which will prevent them from competing in years to come unless there is meaningful progress.

Atlanta Braves – 25 Blown Saves

It should have been a red flag for the Atlanta Braves when the Los Angeles Dodgers decided to move on from long-time closer Kenley Jansen. Instead, the Braves inked Jansen to a one-year deal, hoping he would emerge from his declining metrics late in his career. Granted, Jansen looked superb through the first four and a half months of the season, but things are starting to come unglued at the wrong time of year. 

Jansen blew another save this week, dropping his season-long save percentage to 83.8%. Still, the Braves bailed their closer out, coming back to win in the bottom of the ninth. However, Jansen has blown two of his last four saves, giving up runs in three of the four outings while striking out just one. 

Atlanta has a talented bullpen, and we could see Jansen lose his grip on the closer role if he continues to struggle late in games. The Braves sit just 1.0 games back of the New York Mets for the division lead, and they won’t want to look back at a few missed saves as the difference between them and home field advantage in the playoffs.

2022 Blown Saves by Team: 

Team

Blown Saves

Save Opportunities

Rays

29

68

Cubs

27

59

Braves

25

70

Marlins

24

56

Twins

24

48

Red Sox

24

56

Pirates

23

50

Brewers

22

67

Rangers

22

52

Angels

21

50

Athletics

21

50

Blue Jays

20

57

Diamondbacks

20

49

Reds

20

45

Rockies

19

54

Giants

19

48

Yankees

18

58

Padres

18

60

White Sox

18

58

Royals

17

45

Cardinals

16

46

Mets

15

53

Dodgers

15

51

Phillies

14

49

Astros

14

57

Nationals

14

39

Guardians

14

49

Tigers

13

43

Mariners

12

47

Orioles

11

49