Nation STATion: Nine on Melancon


Nation STATion: Nine on Melancon

If Mark Melancon becomes the Red Sox closer he will be a very different type of closer than what Red Sox Nation is used to.

Melancon threw 1121 pitches last season and batters hit .234. Off his 461 fastballs, batters hit .317. Off his 299 curveballs they only hit .138, and off his 260 cutters they hit .200. Compare this to Jonathan Papelbon who threw 1001 pitches last season and batters hit .207. Off his 751 fastballs, batters hit .200. Off his 144 splitters they hit .220, and off his 101 sliders they hit .240.

Here are nine more nuggets on Melancon:

1.Mark Melancon was 8-4 last season, 4-2 against teams with less than .500 record, and 4-2 against teams at .500 and above. The big difference however is that his ERA against the less than .500 teams was 1.30, but his ERA against teams .500 and above was 4.68.

2.Melancon pitched in seven interleague games with a 1-1 record and an 8.64 ERA. He went 0-1 against the Sox and allowed one run in one inning on one hit and three walks. He was 1-0 against Texas but had a 5.40 ERA in three games.

3.Melancon appeared in 21 games on no days rest and was effective (2.05 ERA). In his 17 times when pitching on one days rest he had a sterling 1.45 ERA. On two days rest he was less sharp and had a 2.40 ERA. With three days rest he had a 5.91 ERA.

4.With runners in scoring position Melancon held batters to a .197 batting average, RISP w 2 outs batters only hit .189.

5.Righties hit .228 against Melancon with a .581 OPS; lefties hit .243 with a .704 OPS.

6.Melancon became more accustomed to his role as the season progressed. Prior to the All-Star break he had a 3.07 ERA and a .248 Batting Average Against. After the break his ERA was 2.43 with a .215 BAA.

7.Melancon threw 1,121 pitches last season; he had thrown 603 major league pitches in 2009-10 combined.

8.In 2011, batters swung at 45.3 percent of Melancons fastballs and missed on 18.2 percent of them. Melancon is most effective on his curve with batters swinging at 47.2 percent of them and missing on 39.0 percent.

9.When Melancon is pitching effectively he is forcing grounders. He struck out 66 of the 309 hitters he faced and gave up 122 grounders with batters getting 23 hits (.189). Batters were 12-for 43 on fly balls (.279) and 28-for-39 on line drives (.718). He only produced six pop-ups.

You can draw whatever conclusions you like from these numbers, but my feeling is that making him the closer in the AL East is a huge leap from pitching in the desolation and desperation of Houston last season. Melancon feels like a complimentary piece to the bullpen puzzle, but not the solution -- at least at this time. However, I think as a seventh or eighth inning guy, Melancon could shine. I look forward to your comments.

Yankees beat Blue Jays, Red Sox have chance to clinch AL East on Tuesday


Yankees beat Blue Jays, Red Sox have chance to clinch AL East on Tuesday

For tonight, the Boston Red Sox can say "thank you" to the New York Yankees.

Despite the Toronto Blue Jays loading the bases with no out in the ninth, the Yankees hold on to beat the Blue Jays, 7-5. The result moves the Red Sox' magic number in the AL East to just one game. 

David Price will take the mound for the Red Sox on Tuesday night against those very Yankees with a chance to clinch the division. 

They can also clinch the AL East with a Toronto loss to the Baltimore Orioles. 

Dee Gordon homers leading off as Marlins mourn Jose Fernandez


Dee Gordon homers leading off as Marlins mourn Jose Fernandez

MIAMI - Dee Gordon hit an emotional homer in Miami's first at-bat following the death of Marlins ace Jose Fernandez in a boating accident.

Leading off the first inning Monday night against the New York Mets, Gordon pulled a 2-0 pitch from Bartolo Colon over the wall in right for his first homer of the season.

Gordon circled the bases slowly and was crying when he reached home plate. He tapped his chest and waved toward the sky, and then sobbed as teammates hugged him in the dugout.

Gordon took the first pitch batting right-handed, in tribute to the right-handed Fernandez. Gordon then switched to his normal left side.

Fernandez died Sunday morning, prompting the Marlins to cancel their game that day against Atlanta.