Orioles win again, and the hold is even stupider than the save

Holy cow, the Orioles won again! That puts them at 4-1, in first place. I know it doesn’t mean much at this point, but I bet that most analysts wouldn’t have expected them to be three games over .500 at any point in the season, so this is encouraging. And they did this one with a two out, ninth inning rally to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 win. Here’s where the stats get ridiculous. ESPN reports a stat called a hold. It’s basically given to a pitcher who enters the game in a save situation and leaves without relinquishing the lead. It’s utterly absurd, and this game is a perfect example. Eric O’Flaherty entered the game to pitch for the Mariners in the bottom of the ninth, when they led, 2-0. He allows a double to the first batter, who then advanced to third on a groundout and scores on another groundout. A single then ends O’Flaherty’s night. He gets a hold because it was a save situation, and he left with his team still winning, 2-1. Mark Lowe comes in and gives up a single and a walk to load the bases. A wild pitch and a single later, and the game is over, a 3-2 Orioles win. O’Flaherty is charged with 2 runs in 2/3 of an inning, but because the tying run didn’t score until he left the game, even though it was charged to him, he gets the hold. Lowe gets the loss because it was his baserunner who eventually scored the winning run. Too bad for Mariners’ starter Felix Hernandez, who pitched a fantastic eight innings of shutout ball. He, of course, gets nothing for his trouble.

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