Posts Tagged ‘A Closer Look at the Save Rule in Sunday’s Game’

A Closer Look at the Save Rule in Sunday’s Game

May 22, 2017

Zach McAllister didn’t even get credit Sunday for saving the Astros from the fire works expense of a victory celebration.


The Rules Scoring Supposition for Save Awards

Under certain defined conditions, relief pitchers may earn a Save (Sv) credit for coming into a game and protecting a lead that is never yielded prior to the recording of the last out in the game.

These three conditions are all based upon the premise that the qualifying pitcher never yields the lead, even to a tie score status, and that he qualifies for the Sv award as follows:

(1) The pitcher enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning; or,

(2) The pitcher enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, at bat or on deck; or,

(3) The pitcher pitches for at least three innings.

Affirmation for the Save Rules Correctness from the Box Score of the 5/21/17 Cleveland@Houston Game Linked Below:,game_state=final,game=490751

Our Conclusion

It is our conclusion that the official scorer acted correctly in awarding no Sv to Indians relief pitcher Zach McAllister. He entered the game and pitched the 9th and final inning, but the score was 8-3, Cleveland, when his work started and 0nly 8-6, Cleveland, when the game ended. McAllister had yielded 3 earned runs on two home runs in the 9th, but he did not qualify for a Sv credit by any of the three conditions that are currently in place.

What brought this request to mind was the comment I heard Astros TV voice Todd Kalas make after Alex Bregman hit the second of two consecutive home runs off McAllister. “It is now a save situation with the tying run on deck,” Kalas noted, with no further reference. And we don’t mean to take it out on Todd Kalas. We probably would have made the same kind of mistake many times over in the bright sunshine of his big league audience world – and maybe over the same rule.

In fact, what really sent me running to Google the save award rules noted above was my own state of uncertainty about them. I first thought, “maybe Todd’s right. Maybe some pitchers are getting saves awarded for games that did slap them back into their fields of eligibility by big scores that slipped the margins of victory down to close scores in the late goings.

I was all so ready to tear into the rules makers for leaving another hole in the boat of pitching credit stats when I looked more closely today – and I now think I saw a place where the rules writers got it right.

Unless a pitcher has been in the game for three innings, he can’t shave a bunch of runs off a big lead in order to qualify for a save. The credit is tied to both what a pitcher does – and how long he’s been in the game. And any “closer” today is still worth his salt in save credits if he can come into a game in the 9th with a one-run lead and hold it for a victory.

It also makes me wonder. – Are there some official scorekeepers out there who might have given McAllister a save today for what he did in the 9th at Minute Maid Park?


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle