© Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
The 2019 season has been something of a rollercoaster ride for the Giants thus far. The offensive woes plagued the team early on, but have subsided for the time being. The starting pitching and defense has been good, but the bullpen has been on another level.
Following their 7-3 victory over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday, the Giants bullpen currently ranks first in baseball in combined ERA.
Shoutout to the bullpen 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/9GIQptONXO
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) April 17, 2019
The bullpen was an expected strength coming into 2019, but has proven to be even more dominant. One surprising arm who has had success early on is Mark Melancon.
Wednesday morning Duane Kuiper joined Murph & Mac and gave his thoughts on Melancon being an asset this season.
“Well, he has to be, because of the money he’s making,” Kuip said. “This is not a guy that you kick to the curb because of his salary, you try and get as much out of him as you can. He’s pitching pretty good right now, he’s a veteran guy, he knows how to get outs, if he doesn’t have his best stuff on that particular day, he can still do that.”
So far through eight appearances this season, Melancon has not given up a single run through nine innings. Despite working around some hard-hit balls, Melancon has found a way to work through trouble.
“They hit a couple of balls hard off of him yesterday, but that’s not a bad thing. Some day’s you’re going to lose games because of these 35-hoppers that get through the infield and you’re just going to throw up your hands. He’s pitching pretty good, and you can see now that the manager is using him in the sixth, maybe a little bit in the seventh.”
Melancon was signed to be the team’s closer after a disastrous 2016 season in the bullpen. Battling injuries and up-and-down performance, Melancon was never able to hold onto that role.
“His innings now are getting a little bit closer to the end, which means the manager is starting to have a lot more faith in him. And Moronta is the guy, if he can throw strikes, and not walk people, he’s a beast. You gotta have one or two of those guys in the bullpen, and they got one of them, and now they just need to find that other guy.”
Could Melancon finally live up to initial expectations? A very strong start to the season has Melancon turning heads. The Giants have plenty of bullpen arms that are capable of closing, and Melancon may still be one of them.
Listen to the full interview here: