Mark Melancon is now the Atlanta Braves closer, a role the team has been unable to fill so far this season. Melancon brings experience to the closer’s position but still will be facing plenty of questions.
The Atlanta Braves bullpen was fixed at the trade deadline, or so the Braves thought after they acquired Melancon, Chris Martin, and Shane Greene. So far both Greene and Martin have been very underwhelming.
Atlanta was expecting Greene to come in and bring some stability to the closer’s role. Instead, Greene has failed to be even a reliable relief option since he joined the Braves. He was a dominant closer when the Braves acquired him and somehow has morphed into an unreliable early inning option now.
Such has been life for the Braves bullpen this season. It seems anytime Atlanta finds a reliable arm or has an order injury or struggles will strike another role.
After Greene’s struggles, Atlanta will turn to Mark Melancon allowing him a chance to stabilize the last inning. He has 183-saves in his career and has been solid during his time in Atlanta.
It is important to note that Melancon is no longer the dominant late-inning reliever he was when he was piling up saves with regularity. However, he does have experience and Atlanta has little other choice with their bullpen’s struggles.
It is hard to see any one of Atlanta’s other relief options being a more consistent closing option. Perhaps Melancon will find some of the magic he had with the Pirates and be the dominate late-inning option he was then.
If not Atlanta has a huge problem on their hands with no other obvious options. Come postseason time it will be interesting (or horrifying dependent on your definition) to see how Atlanta handles their bullpen and if they can find any consistent innings when they matter most.