When Aroldis Chapman blew a save against the Red Sox in the ninth inning of the Yankees’ 3-2, 10-inning loss last Sunday, it was the Yankees’ 20th blown save, which at the time was second-most in the majors.
For a team that is built on its bullpen — especially after the July trade for David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle — 20 seems a tad high. Only Seattle, with 22, had more at the time.
But Yankees manager Joe Girardi had an interesting comment when he was asked about that statistic in the immediate aftermath of that disappointing defeat.
“I think that statistic is — when you hear ‘blown save,’ it sounds like 20 in the ninth inning,” Girardi said. “I think that can be a misleading number — makes it sound like it’s 20 in the ninth inning. And that would be an issue.”
Chapman’s blown save, which came on a home run by rookie Rafael Devers on a 103-mph fastball, was notable because it was only the second home run Chapman has allowed to a lefthanded batter in his eight-year big-league career.
It also was only the fourth ninth-inning blown save by a Yankee this season. So Girardi was right.
After Friday’s game — in which Kahnle blew a save to the Red Sox in the seventh inning — the Yankees have 22 blown saves, which is tied with Seattle for the most in the majors.
But nine of them have come in the seventh inning, four in the eighth, four in the sixth and one in the 10th.
Chapman had been the Yankees’ closer until Saturday, so it makes sense that three of his four blown saves have come in the ninth. The other came in the eighth.
Dellin Betances has the other ninth-inning blown save. It came on June 27 at the White Sox.
Tyler Clippard, who was traded to the White Sox in the Robertson/Kahnle/Todd Frazier trade, still has the most blown saves by a Yankee this season with five. Clippard faltered in the sixth inning twice, the seventh inning twice and the eighth inning once.
Adam Warren has three blown saves, all in the seventh inning.
Very few relievers who enter the game in the seventh will stay in long enough to get a save (you have to finish the game to qualify). So being charged with a blown save when it’s not the ninth inning chafes some of the Yankees’ relievers.
“We’ve had lots of discussions about that,” Warren said. “If you don’t actually have a chance to save a game, maybe you should get a blown hold or something like that versus a blown save. To get a blown save in the seventh inning is kind of hard.”
Betances, Kahnle and Jonathan Holder have two blown saves apiece. Robertson, Chad Green, Chasen Shreve and Giovanny Gallegos have one each.
The Yankees won six of the 22 games in which one of their relievers was charged with a blown save, including the 18-inning epic at the Cubs on May 7 when Chapman gave up three runs in the ninth inning to send the game to extras. Extra extras.
Clippard, Warren and Kahnle have all “vultured” wins — they blew the save and ended up as the winning pitcher when the Yankees rallied.
Holder, by the way, has three holds this season. Holds hang around the periphery of being useful information. Did the reliever’s team still have the lead when he left the game?
“For a middle reliever, a hold is probably more important than a win and is almost as good as a save,” said Warren, who has 10 holds, three wins, two losses and one save. “Because as a middle reliever, you don’t get a lot of chances to save games.”
Can’t close it
The Yankees’ 22 blown saves this season by pitcher:
5 Tyler Clippard
2Dellin Betances, Jonathan Holder, Tommy Kahnle
1Giovanny Gallegos, Chad Green, David Robertson, Chasen Shreve
Yankees blown saves by inning:
10th - 1
9th – 4
8th – 4
7th – 9
6th – 4