The Braves acquired three pitchers before the deadline – all of them had closing experience and were more experienced than the previous Braves closer – Luke Jackson.
The obvious choice to assume the role was Shane Greene. He had 22 saves for the Tigers and carried a 1.18 ERA into Atlanta with 43 strikeouts in 38 innings. The problem is, since his arrival, he’s done nothing but allow runs.
In his first appearance, Greene gave up the game-tying hit against the Reds for his first blown save in a Braves uniform. The very next night, he allowed a three-run homer in the tenth for his first loss in a Braves uniform. In his third appearance, he surrendered a home run to the Twins in a non-save situation.
Chris Martin has not done much better.
He served up a beach ball to Miguel Sanó in Minnesota for a walk-off two-run homer. Then tried to complete the eighth inning tonight against the Marlins and allowed three earned runs before he could record the third out.
Meanwhile, Mark Melancon shut the door on the Fish. He now has a perfect 3.1 innings pitched in Atlanta without allowing a run and only one measly hit. Because of that, Brian Snitker is going to use him as the closer, at least for the time being.
Mark Melancon will close games at least for a while, Snitker said.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) August 10, 2019
At 34 years old, Melancon isn’t the pitcher he once was. He recorded a league-high 51 saves when he was an All-Star in Pittsburgh during the 2015 season. That was about the time when you could pencil him in for an ERA below 2.50 every year. He hasn’t been at that level since 2017, but he has been the best reliever on the Braves for the last week so you can’t blame Snitker for moving in this direction. Hopefully, it is the answer to Atlanta’s bullpen woes.