And that is how a Rangers game should go this year.
Get an early lead, hold into the lead—barely. Hold being the word of note, here.
The Hold stat is one of the most worthless stats in baseball. It started as a way to give middle relievers a little love for what they do. Middle relievers are the pitchers who aren’t good enough to start and aren’t good enough to close.
Here is the definition of a hold:
A hold (abbreviated HLD, H or HD) is awarded to a relief pitcher who meets the following three conditions:
1. Enters the game in a save situation; that is, when all of the following three conditions apply:
(a) He appears in relief (i.e., is not the starting pitcher) when his team is leading; and
(b) He is not the winning pitcher; and
(c) He qualifies under one of the following conditions:
(i) He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and maintains that lead for at least one inning
(ii) He enters the game with the potential tying run either on base, or at bat, or on deck
(iii) He pitches for at least three innings;
2. Records at least one out;
3. Leaves the game before it has ended without his team having relinquished the lead at any point and does not record a save.
Jose Leclerc entered yesterday’s game against the Pirates in the eighth inning, with his team leading 3-2. A save sitation. He gets an out then does what Leclerc does. He loaded the bases. Two singles and a walk. He has as much control as an incontinent homeless man.
He leaves the game in a total mess. Will Smith has to come in to get him and the Rangers out of a jam and to keep the fans in Rangers Nation from jumping off a ledge.
He was wild. He was hittable. He was a powerkeg just waiting to explode. He was, well, the worst thing one can say about him, or really about any pitcher, he was Schepperslike.
But for all his ineffectiveness, he earned a Hold.
As if he did something.
Hold is a stat invented by middle reliever’s moms and agents to make their middle reliever sons and clients feel better about themselves.
It’s the ultimate participation trophy stat.