Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Joe Borowski's 1-2-3 innings

Terry Pluto, in today's PD, wrote:

But Joe Borowski is so much like this team. He's a low-budget guy coming through in a high-pressure situation. Now here's a statistic you won't believe, but Borowski has had more 1-2-3 saves than Mariano Rivera this season, 15-10.

Just like Monday night: pop out . . . fly out . . . pop out. The man who led the American League with 45 saves, the man who does it more with guts and grit than speed and talent . . . well, Joe Borowski did it again. Ballgame, one if you watched, you won't soon forget.

Now I won't disagree with the sentiment, I kinda like Joe. The crowd certainly was chanting "Let's Go Joe!" during the ninth. But the impression of the statistic Pluto quoted was misleading. He may have had more 1-2-3 innings than Rivera, but let's compare him to other top closers this year. (And by my count, using ESPN.com's game-by-game stats, Borowski had 16 3-batter saves.)

Caveat: I evaluated each closer's saves, counted the ones where they faced 3 batters. Sure, there could have been a double play mixed in, or they could have come in with 2 outs and faced 3 batters. But I'm at my desk at work doing this, and it's not my living!

Valverde, ARI: 37.0% of his chances had 3 batters or less. I'll make up this stat as NHAS. (Non-Heart-Attack Save.) 20 3-batter saves/47 saves. 7 blown saves (BS).
Borowski, CLE: 32.1% NHAS. 16/45 3-batter saves. 8 BS. 1 2-batter save.
Cordero, MIL: 45.1% NHAS. 21/44 3-batter saves. 7 BS. 2 1-batter saves.
Hoffman, SD: 46.9% NHAS. 21/42 3-batter saves. 7 BS (including one fateful October game). 2 1-batter save.
Rodriguez, LAA: 32.6% NHAS. 12/40 3-batter saves. 6 BS. 1 2-batter and 2 1-batter saves.
Putz, SEA: 38.1% NHAS. 15/40 3-batter saves. 2 BS. 1 1b-batter save.
Jenks, CHI: 58.7% NHAS. 22/40 3-batter saves. 6 BS. An amazing 3 1-batter and 2 2-batter saves.

By these measurements, only F-Rod was close to Borowski in giving his fans nervous palpatations every time he came up to bat.