The Orioles came back from an early 3-0 deficit last night to beat Josh Beckett and the Red Sox. I’m sorry I missed the game, but I was having dinner with the wife (Post to come) and then watching basketball. The game puts the Sox a half game back from first place Tampa Bay (Never thought I’d write those four words) and keeps the O’s in third, 3 back. Not a bad place to be for a team expected to win 65 games this year. Now, I’ve complained about the hold before. It’s a stupid stat that rarely measures anything of real value to a baseball team. But there was an interesting hold credited last night to an Orioles pitcher. So, top of the seventh, Boston leads off with two singles, so we have guys on first and second with no outs. It’s 5-3, Baltimore. Jamie Walker relieves Jeremy Guthrie and promptly throws a wild pitch and walks Ortiz to load the bases for Manny. Pretty much anyone who has ever heard of baseball knows that no outs, bases loaded, and Manny Ramirez at the plate is bad times for the defense. This could be very ugly, very soon. Jim Johnson relieves Walker and Manny grounds into a double play, then Mike Lowell pops out to end the inning. THIS IS A HOLD. Bases loaded, no outs in the seventh, two run lead, and the 4-5-6 hitters coming up - allowing no runs here is a really nice pitching performance. I have no problem giving the guy credit for a hold here. But I do have a problem with the next inning, where with one out, Johnson walks two and gives up an RBI single before getting lifted for the closer. So, we have to try and get to the root of the hold. Is it given for getting out of a jam, regardless of the next inning? That is, let’s say he had given up a two-run home run before getting lifted, making the score 6-5 Sox. Does he still get the hold for the previous inning? Maybe my real problem here is my reaction to pitchers issuing walks. I think it’s because I feel like, if the pitcher allows a hit, then the batter beat him. It sucks, but it happens. But if the pitcher allows a walk, then he beat himself. I mean, sure, some guys are better at drawing walks than others, but in the end, the pitcher still has to throw four pitches that don’t go through the strike zone and don’t provoke a swing. Maybe my initial reaction to Johnson’s night would have been better if he’d just given up two hits and the run instead of the two walks. Anyway, I still hate the hold stat. But at least Johnson earned it this time.