Melancon continues to baffle opposing hitters
Two years ago in Boston, Mark Melancon had so much trouble keeping the ball in the park that he was shipped to Triple-A Pawtucket following a disastrous three-homer appearance against the Texas Rangers. Melancon coughed up 1.6 home runs per nine innings pitched during his lone season with the Red Sox, getting mauled for a 6.20 ERA. But these days, you've got a better chance of spotting Jaws in the Allegheny River than taking the Shark Tank's set-up man deep.
Melancon has not surrendered a home run since April 14, 2013, when Cincinnati's Joey Votto drove one of Melancon's patented cutters into PNC Park's center field stands. His run of 65 consecutive homerless innings pitched is the longest current streak in the majors, easily surpassing A.J. Ramos (52.2 innings pitched), Fernando Rodney (49.1), Steve Cishek (47.2) and Joe Nathan (46.1).
Votto's shot aside, Melancon's cutter is the key to his long-ball turnaround. He increased his use of the pitch from 26.3 percent in Boston to 56.1 percent with the Bucs, according to Fangraphs. The bat-breaking, low-90s offering helped boost his ground ball rate from 50 percent in 2012 to 60.3 percent last year.
While Melancon is the game's current king of homer prevention, he'll have to avoid the cheap seats well into this season to touch the streaks put together by relief ace Kent Tekulve, who holds three of the five longest homerless stretches in Pirates history during the Expansion Era (1961-present).
HR-less Pitcher Years streak
Kent Tekulve 1979-80 111.2
Dave Giusti 1974-75 99.0
Kent Tekulve 1983-84 85.1
Kent Tekulve 1975-76 85.0
Ramon Hernandez 1974-76 83.2
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cole shuts down Diamondbacks as Pirates open road trip with victory
- Pirates notebook: McCutchen unfazed by return to Arizona
- Pirates look to continue success in cross-country trips
- Gameday: Pirates at Diamondbacks, April 25, 2015
- Super-agent Boras says Pirates will have opportunity to re-sign Alvarez, Cole
- Polanco, bullpen come up clutch as Pirates capture win over Cubs
- Burnett’s evolution from thrower to pitcher helps him stay on top of his game
- Bonds’ obstruction conviction overturned
- Pirates notebook: No demotion for closer Melancon
- Pirates notebook: Marte, McCutchen out of starting lineup in series finale
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Cubs, April 20, 2015