At the trade deadline at the end of July, the Atlanta Braves acquired relievers Shane Greene from the Detroit Tigers and Mark Melancon from the San Francisco Giants. Both had been veteran closers in the past and Greene was expected to remain the closer in Atlanta after an excellent start to the season in Detroit where he had an earned run average of 1.18 in 38 games.
However in his first six appearances with the Braves, it did not go smoothly for Greene. He had two blown saves and one loss to weaker National League hitting clubs in the Cincinnati Reds and Miami Marlins, and then another poor performance against the New York Mets. In that stretch, Greene gave up seven earned runs in only 4 1/3 innings, and saw him lose his closer duties to Melancon.
It was a bit of a surprise to many that the Giants let Melancon go to the Braves as they were in the National League wildcard hunt at the time. The righthander from Wheat Ridge, CO has more experience than Greene at closing (187 career saves compared to Greene’s 65 career saves), but had an earned run average of 3.50 in 43 games with the Giants.
Things have not gone extremely stellar for Melancon either in Atlanta. Melancon’s earned run average in 11 games with the Braves is 5.79 (compared to Greene’s 6.75) and his WHIP is 1.39 (compared to Greene’s 1.82). However, in a sport where the focus is what have you done for me lately, Melancon has been very effective in his last 5 2/3 innings against the New York Mets, Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers as he has given up only two earned runs in that stretch.
As a result, Melancon has taken over closer duties in Atlanta. In his last six games, Melancon has picked up four saves and a win. Melancon’s last save came in a 2-1 Braves win over the Mets on Friday night at Citi Field. In a marathon contest, Melancon came in for the save opportunity in the 14th inning and did not allow a base runner. As a result, the Braves now have a six game lead over the Washington Nationals in the National League East.