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Clippard’s Vulture Win and the Braves’ Double Plays September 13, 2015

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Sports.
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During last night’s 6-4 win over the Braves, Mets setup man Tyler Clippard allowed three runs in the eighth, when Adonis Garcia hit a game-tying home run. Tyler finished the inning gamely, and then (through no fault of Clippard’s) the Mets scored two runs – Kelly Johnson batted Eric Young, Jr., home off of closer Arodys Vizcaino, and Yoenis Cespedes batted Johnson home off of reliever Peter Moylan.

Clippard’s sixth blown save of the year was a special kind of decision called a vulture win, which exists when a pitcher blows a save but gets the win anyway. It was Tyler’s first this year. Jeurys Familia relieved him immediately in the ninth for the save. Of the 492 blown saves thus far in 2015, 185 were in games the pitcher’s team won. Vulture wins are a very tiny proportion of those blown saves. Brad Boxberger has two; so do David Robertson, Greg Holland, J.J. Hoover, John Axford, Justin Wilson, and Luke Gregerson. No one has three this year.

In addition, the Braves (led by Andrelton Simmons) turned four inning-ending double plays with a runner on third. Of the 2228 inning-ending double plays this year, 429 came with third base occupied. Atlanta, including last night’s 4, has turned 27, or over 6% of them – almost double what would be expected. The Cubs have turned the fewest, with 6. 7, including all four of last night’s, were turned behind Braves starter Williams Perez.

Behind all of this, Noah Syndergaard shined, facing 223 batters in 7 innings of one-run baseball. Despite his hopeless inability to bunt (which set up a double play with Wilmer Flores on third), he managed to pitch to a 76 game score and hold the game in check so that even Clippard’s buzzarding didn’t cause any major issues.

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