Closers have taken on a prestigious role in sports with the spotlight focused squarely on them to get a mere three outs. They are supposed to have ice in their veins and be unfazed during clutch moments. Yet despite the basic prerequisites to be a closer many often fail over a dozen times a year. Imagine if you failed at your job, the key essential of your job over a dozen times a year and caused your whole team or group a setback, where would you be?
The save became an official stat in baseball in 1969 and its been a measuring stick of the most clutch pitchers of all time with Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera atop that list. But what about those guys who simply prove to be not clutch and the teams that stuck with them for an entire season?
The record for most saves blown in a single year is 14. (Goose Gossage has more blown saves in his career than any other player with 112.) It is held by 4 players- Rollie Fingers, Bruce Sutter, Bob Stanley, and Ron Davis.
1976- Rollie Fingers: 13-11, 20 saves, 2.47 ERA ( missed playoffs by 2.5 games)
1978- Bruce Sutter: 8-10, 27 saves, 3.18 ERA (missed playoffs by 11 games)
1983- Bob Stanley: 8-10, 33 saves, 2.85 ERA (missed playoffs by 20 games)
1984- Ron Davis: 7-11, 29 saves, 4.55 ERA (missed playoffs by 3 games)
The one thing that all four of these players have in common is a relatively low ERA considering they blew 14 saves. But what about these 8 players.
1979- Gene Garber: 6-16, 25 saves, 4.33 ERA
1979- Mike Marshall: 10-15, 32 saves, 2.65 ERA
2003- Mike Williams: 1-7, 28 saves, 6.14 ERA
2003- Jose Mesa: 5-7, 24 saves, 6.52 ERA
2004- Shawn Chacon: 1-9, 35 saves, 7.11 ERA
2006- Derrick Turnbow: 4-9, 24 saves, 6.87 ERA
2009- Matt Capps: 3-7, 23 saves, 6.38 ERA
2009- Brad Lidge: 0-6, 25 saves, 7.33 ERA
Clearly, Shawn Chacon has had the worst season by a closer, ever. The Rockies missed the playoffs by 24 games. Coincidentally, it was 2004 in which Brad Lidge went 6-5 with 29 saves and a mere 1.90 ERA. But 2004 was the year in which Pujols set Brad Lidge's career back.
And Now You Know! (And Knowing is Half the Battle)