Bonehead Sportswriter of the Month: Alan Robinson, Associated Press:

Pirates' Mesa brings consistency to this season of the blown save

By Keith Glab 5/18/05

" In this season of the lost lead and the blown save, closing out games has become an oft-repeated adventure even for star relievers such as Trevor Hoffman, Dan Kolb and Keith Foulke."

--Alan Robinson, desperately seeking evidence to support a popular claim.

Whoa! I’ll concede that Keith Foulke has had a rough start, but as for the rest of that troubled sentence…

Trevor Hoffman…unreliable? I think not. Since opening the season with a blown save in Colorado, where even the best pitcher might falter, Hoffman has allowed just one run in 15 innings! That’s a 0.60 ERA to go along with 12 saves. Oh, and for those who are impressed with peripheral pitching statistics (Alan Robinson need not finish this sentence), Hoffman had 16 K’s, 2 BB’s, and 7 hits allowed in that span. Trevor is pitching as well as ever, and another couple of years at this level will place him among the 10 best relievers of all-time.

Dan Kolb…a ‘star reliever?’ Please! Here’s a guy who struck out just 3.3 batters per nine innings last season. For a quick comparison, Brad Lidge had a strikeout rate over 4.5 times better (14.9/9) than Kolb. There were seven relievers in the NL alone with more saves than he had, and there were 18 Major League pitchers with double digits in saves who posted a better ERA than Kolb. To say that he is an adequate closer is quite a stretch…but a ‘star reliever?’ Wow!

So what does Mr. Robinson proceed to do? Jump on the Jose Mesa bandwagon, of course. Mesa, who had a WHIP of 1.41 last year, is being praised for converting 23 save chances in a row dating back to last year. But this is no Eric Gagne. Mesas’s K/BB ratio over this span was 19/9, he’d allowed 26 hits in those 28.3 innings, and, oh yes, lost a game just three days prior to the article being written. Suitably, Mesa proceeded to blow a save to Derrick Lee and the Cubs the very day after this article was written.

Alan Robinson, you must have a very muscular neck.