Thursday morning, an Adam Hayes-penned an article appeared here at The Hardball Times regarding relievers and the shortcomings of the mainstream stats used to evaluate them.
Thursday evening, the Pirates lost their game against the Brewers to fall below .500 on the year as Pittsburgh continues to do a nifty imitation of last year’s collapse.
These two items are related because of the box score that game produced.
After climbing out of an early 4-0 hole to take a 7-4 lead, the Buccos coughed up their late lead and fell by a score of 9-7. One of the pitchers most responsible for this loss was Chad Qualls, who surrendered three runs on three hits while retiring a single batter.
Qualls was credited with a hold.
Chris Resop came in next and gave up a run on two hits and a walk while recording two outs.
Resop took the loss.
Obviously, neither hurler pitched well, but Qualls clearly was worse. It is absurd for him to receive positive credit for his “contribution” while Resop was on the hook for the loss.
Holds, saves, wins, losses, blown saves—these traditional counting stats we attribute to pitcher performances simply don’t do a sufficient job of assigning credit and blame. Yes, those with a sabermetric bent are well aware of this, so situations like this simply serve to provide more ammunition in the assault on these stats and the significance many fans—and mainstream media—attribute to them.