Mark Melancon would probably love to forget all about the 2012 season. He finished with a 0-2 record and a 6.20 ERA for the Boston Red Sox. The team had enough and traded Melancon to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the offseason. The turnaround that Melancon has experienced this season has been truly amazing to see and has put him back into a discussion for best relievers in MLB.
He is 1-1 with a 1.19 ERA for the Pirates, allowing just four runs in 30 1/3 innings. I didn’t think we would see much of him again after the Boston collapse last season, but he has turned into a great set-up man for Jason Grilli. The Pirates are obviously not terribly good with their offense, so a lot of the pressure this season has fallen on the team’s bullpen. Melancon has been up to the challenge from the start of the year. He may have given up a run in taking a loss on Tuesday but is still leading the NL in holds with 18.
I expect that Melancon will finish the season with an ERA probably closer to 2.25 when it all shakes out, but it will be enough to get Pittsburgh into the playoffs. This team is too good right now to collapse for a third straight year and a big reason for that is Melancon.
There is still a long way to go this season, but I’m sure Melancon is very happy that he is back in the National League where he has been dominant over his career.