PITTSBURGH — The Giants’ return to Pittsburgh is a homecoming of kinds for reliever Mark Melancon, who recorded 130 profession saves and posted a 1.80 ERA for the Pirates between 2013-2016.
Melancon was thought of one of the dominant closers in baseball following the 2016 season, which is why the Giants signed him to a four-year, $62 million deal that quickly made Melancon the highest-paid reliever in baseball historical past.
Two-plus years into Melancon’s tenure in San Francisco, the right-hander has didn’t reside as much as the expectations of his contract. Melancon has handled vital harm points and saved simply 14 video games for the Giants, however he might quickly have an opportunity so as to add to his whole.
Supervisor Bruce Bochy revealed Friday the Giants will contemplate Melancon as an possibility to shut video games transferring ahead.
“He’s going to avoid wasting video games for us,” Bochy mentioned. “We’ll have him in that function typically.”
Bochy mentioned left-hander Will Smith will stay the Giants’ main nearer, however after Melancon recorded 9 straight scoreless outings to open the yr, he has thrust himself into the dialog as a beneficial possibility in high-leverage conditions.
Smith is 4-for-Four in save probabilities this yr with a 1.35 ERA in seven video games, however Bochy loves having Smith out there to face left-handed hitters late in video games. If the Giants want Smith to get outs towards robust lefties within the seventh or eighth innings of specific video games, they might flip to Melancon to complete out the ninth.
“It’s good to have Mark again wholesome and throwing the ball the best way we all know he can,” Bochy mentioned. “He’s gone two innings, so he’s made himself much more versatile which is invaluable for us.”
Melancon missed three separate chunks of time throughout his first yr with the Giants resulting from a pronator harm that finally required season-ending surgical procedure in September, 2017. The surgical procedure was anticipated to alleviate his ache and permit him to return for Opening Day in 2018, however Melancon started final season on the injured listing and saved simply three video games for the Giants.
Smith took over the nearer function shortly after getting back from Tommy John surgical procedure final season and earned the job once more with a dominant spring this yr. Since taking up because the Giants’ main nearer, Smith has at all times mentioned the inning he pitches doesn’t matter to him so long as the membership is positioned to win video games.
Melancon has coveted the nearer function and after one among his finest outings as a Big in a 4-2 loss to the Nationals Thursday, it’s clear the right-hander has regained the belief of Bochy and his workers.
“What a brilliant job he did, we introduced him in a tricky predicament there and he simply pitched lights-out,” Bochy mentioned.
Melancon entered the sport with runners on first and third and nobody out and promptly struck out the primary two hitters he confronted earlier than inducing a popout to finish the inning.