Pittsburgh Pirates v. Chicago Cubs – The Bullpen

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Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


Pirates: Mark Melancon

Cubs: Hector Rondon

Mark Melancon had a very rocky start to 2015 as he had a noticeable decrease in velocity, but he rebounded nicely to become the top closer in the National League this season with 51 saves. Saves aren’t the only reason Melancon has been outstanding this season, he’s pitched to a 2.23ERA/2.82FIP and a 0.926WHIP. The formula for the Pirates this season has been simple, have a lead after six innings and let Soria and Watson bridge the game to Melancon and it has worked way more often than it hasn’t. If the Pirates can manage a lead after six innings, they have a great chance to win the ballgame with Melancon closing it out.

Pirates Closer Totals: 2.23ERA/2.82FIP/51 saves

Hector Rondon has been absolutely ridiculous in 2015 for the Cubs. He’s been a terrific closer for Joe Maddon’s team converting 30 saves with a 1.67ERA/2.68FIP and 1.000WHIP. The Cubs bullpen has been extremely good in the second half of the season and Rondon has been the leader of it. The 27-year-old has been fairly effective since he made his big league debut in 2013, but 2015 has clearly been his breakout season. He won the Closer job out of Spring Training and has not relinquished it for obvious reason. It’s best the Pirates avoid him in the Wildcard Game.

Cubs Closer Totals: 1.67ERA/2.68FIP/30 saves

Verdict: This one is very difficult for me because both closers have been absolutely tremendous for their teams, but the key for me is Rondon has blown four saves this season in 34 opportunities while Melancon has blown two in 53 opportunities. Both pitchers are absolutely fantastic, but you have more of a chance to get Rondon to blow a save than Melancon. However, I wouldn’t want to take my chances with Rondon has he hasn’t blown a save since August 12th. This is very close, but if I was managing a game in the ninth inning and needed three outs, I’d choose Melancon over Rondon.

Next: Conclusion