For someone who is absolutely dominating as a relief pitcher this season, it is surprising to hear Pittsburgh Pirates‘ Mark Melancon not want to discuss his impressive numbers. In fact, do not even mention his 0.84 earned run average, which ranks second in the National League among relievers.
“Don’t tell me that,” Melancon said, according to Pirates.com. “I don’t like to hear those things. This game can turn on you in a hurry. I just want to go out and pitch and stay humble.”
For someone who has played for four different teams in five years and experienced plenty of ups and downs, it is understandable why he does not want to jinx his unbelievable performance. At the same time, he understands he must acknowledge all of the difficult times he has endured because he would not be the pitcher he is today without them.
“There have definitely been a few detours,” Melancon told Pirates.com. “Everything happens for a reason. Everything you go through helps shape who you are. There are reasons I’ve had setbacks. As a whole, my career has been great.”
In 54 appearances this season, the 28-year-old is 2-1 with 50 strikeouts, seven saves and 26 holds. There is no question he is the heart and soul of the most feared bullpen in Major League Baseball.
The “Shark Tank”, what the Pirates relievers have decided to call themselves after Melancon’s trip to New Zealand, relentlessly attack every batter as if there is always blood in the water. In order for the Pirates to reach the postseason for the first time since 1992, the bullpen understands they must play their part. And in order for that to happen, their leader understands that he must continue to have a career year to inspire his teammates to raise their level of play.