A blown save occurs when a relief pitcher enters a game in a save situation, but allows the tying run to score. The run does not have to be charged to that pitcher. If a reliever enters with a man already on third base, and he allows that runner to score the tying run, he is charged with a blown save.
Although many blown saves occur in the ninth inning or later, they aren't limited to the ninth inning. If a pitcher enters in the eighth inning and surrenders the tying run in a save situation, he is given a blown save -- regardless of whether he pitches the ninth. A pitcher can still receive either a win or a loss (or a no-decision) after recording a blown save, depending on the ensuing results.
Blown saves are used as a tool to evaluate the effectiveness of a closer. After all, it is a closer's job not to let the tying run score. Therefore, closers who have a high rate of blown saves per save attempt typically aren't doing their jobs very well.
However, not all blown saves are created equal -- after all, entering with a three-run lead in the ninth and entering with a one-run lead and a man on third in the eighth are both considered save situations. It's important to remember this when assessing closers based on their blown saves.
Blown saves were introduced as a statistic in 1988 as a counterbalance for the statistic "saves."
Watch: Cody Allen blows a save.
Closers with high blown-save totals are usually at the greatest risk of being removed from their ninth-inning roles. As a reliever's fantasy value is tied mostly to his saves tally, closers with low blown-save totals are generally the safest options.
In A Call
"saves blown," "saves lost," "blown leads in save situations"