What is a Blown Save in Baseball

A blown save in baseball can be a crushing disappointment. Learn all about this frustrating statistic and how to avoid it.
Written by Mark Bailey
Last updated on

Blown saves can be heartbreaking for fans and players alike, and they often play a deciding role in postseason games. Here’s everything you need to know about this critical part of baseball.

KEY
POINTS
  • A blown save occurs when a relief pitcher surrenders the tying run in a save situation.
  • A reliever can get a blown save by allowing the tying run to cross the plate in a save situation.
  • The blown save was introduced in baseball in 1988 and is used by the Rolaids Relief Man Award to measure the performance of relief pitchers.
  • Goose Gossage has the most blown saves in Major League Baseball history with 112.
  • A pitcher cannot have two blown saves or a blown hold and save in the same game—once one happens, they are only eligible for a win or loss

A blown save occurs when a closer is unable to secure the win for his team after entering the game with a save opportunity. The statistic is valued by teams and measures the effectiveness of relief pitchers. Teams usually deploy their best relievers to pitch in save situations in the late innings of a baseball game. But when these closers surrender the tying runs to opposing teams, they are charged with a blown save.

What is a blown save?

A blown save occurs when a relief pitcher surrenders the tying run in a save situation. A reliever who inherits a runner on second base when he enters the game and proceeds to let the baserunner cross the plate to tie the game is credited with a blown save.

A save situation occurs when a relief pitcher earns a save or is charged with a blown save. To be eligible for a save, the reliever cannot be the winning pitcher but has to be the last pitcher for his team with one of the following requirements: 

  • Pitch three innings or more.
  • Enter the game with the tying run in the scoring position or the on-deck circle.
  • The pitcher must throw at least one inning and enter the game with a lead of three or fewer runs.

Why is it called a “blown save”?

A blown save gets its name when a relief pitcher is unable to record a save and allows the tying or winning run to score. An example of a pitcher blowing a save opportunity occurs when a pitcher enters the game in the ninth inning with a one-run lead and surrenders two runs. Although teams consider blown saves an important stat, it is not a recognized MLB statistic.

When can you get a blown save?

A relief pitcher can get a blown save by allowing the tying run to cross the plate in a save situation. A reliever can be charged with a blown save even if he is not charged with the tying run. If a pitcher comes into a game with a runner on second base and proceeds to allow the baserunner to score and tie the game, he has blown the save opportunity.

Can you blow a save and record the win?

A reliever who blows a save is still eligible to record the win in baseball. Suppose a relief pitcher enters the game at the top of the ninth with a two-run lead, he surrenders a pair of runs to force his team to bat in the bottom of the frame. If his team breaks the tie and scores the game-winning run, the relief pitcher who blew the save in the top of the frame is credited with the win.

Does a blown save count as a loss?

A blown save does not count as a loss, but a relief pitcher can be charged with a loss after blowing a save opportunity.

For example, let’s pretend that the Atlanta Braves closer enters the game at the bottom of the ninth with his team holding a one-run lead. However, the relief pitcher allows a solo home run to knot the score and gets charged with a blown save. The next batter hits a walk-off homer to win the game, and the pitcher is also credited with a loss.

When was the blown save introduced in baseball?

The blown save was introduced in baseball in 1988. It was first used by the Rolaids Relief Man Award, which utilized the blown save and other statistics to measure the performance of relief pitchers. 

How is a blown save different from a blown hold?

A blown save is different from a blown hold in several ways. A blown save is primarily for closers, while a blown hold is reserved for middle relievers. A pitcher must enter the game in a save situation to be eligible for a blown save. Although both statistics measure a pitcher’s skill, a blown hold does not pertain to a save situation.

FAQ

Who has the most blown saves in major league baseball history?

The relief pitcher with the most blown saves in Major League Baseball history is Hall-of-Famer Goose Gossage, with 112. Another Hall-of-Fame closer, Rollie Fingers, is second with 109 blown saves. Five pitchers are tied for the most blown saves in a season with 14.

Can you have two blown saves in one game?

No, a pitcher cannot have two blown saves in one game. A pitcher who blows a save is not eligible to record a save in the same game because the save opportunity has disappeared. After a pitcher is charged with a blown save, he is only eligible for a win or loss.

Can a pitcher get a blown save and a save in the same game?

No, a pitcher cannot get a blown save and a save in the same game. A relief pitcher who blows a save opportunity is ineligible for a save since the save situation disappears once the lead is lost. However, a pitcher charged with a blown save is still eligible to get credited for a win or loss.

Can a blown save in baseball occur before the ninth inning?

Yes, a blown save in baseball can occur before the ninth inning. For example, if the Texas Rangers closer entered the game in the eighth inning with a three-run lead against the Los Angeles Angels with two runners on base, the pitcher would be charged with a blown save if he surrendered a three-run homer that tied the game.

Blown save: a stat for relief pitchers.

The blown save statistic measures the performance of relief pitchers and is a valuable metric for teams. If a closer has several blown saves, teams will generally use another reliever in save situations. The blown save stat helps teams justify removing a relief pitcher from high-stress save opportunities.

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