Setup man Mark Melancon of the Pittsburgh Pirates has to be disappointed, but probably not too surprised.
Melancon, having his best year ever as a major league pitcher, was the odd man out as the Pirates sent four players to the 2013 MLB All-Star game. Leading all setup men in both leagues in holds (24), WHIP (0.80) and ERA (0.85), Melancon will have to watch from the comfort of his couch as his fellow teammates try to do the Pirates’s nation proud on July 16.
The best setup man by far this season in either league, the 28-year-old from Wheat Ridge, CO has been nearly perfect in his duties of handing the ball off to closer Jason Grilli to do his thing, who would not be leading the NL in saves without Melancon’s nightly stellar performance, and consequently would not be going to this year’s 84th All-Star game for the first time himself.
To his credit, Grilli has acknowledged this, and if it was up to him he’d have his eighth-inning setup man right there sitting next to him in the bullpen at Citi Field in New York if he could. But alas, players get no vote or say in who goes to the yearly Midsummer Classic.
Such is life. Who fed the puck to Wayne Gretzky for most of his goals? Who dished the ball to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most of his two-pointers? Who gave Brett Favre enough time to toss all his TD passes? Who knows? And kind of sadly, who cares?
Fans only care about results, not the process of how they’re obtained. And unfortunately, Melancon and all the middle relievers fall into the latter category. Starters and closers dominate the pitching roster of any All-Star game, so while Melancon has to be a bit disappointed, he can’t really be too surprised.