Melancon recorded the final out of Wednesday's 11-8 win at Colorado to earn his first save. The Giants entered the ninth inning with a six-run lead, but Melancon had to be called upon to secure the final out with the tying run on deck. Closer Will Smith pitched the previous two days and allowed three runs Tuesday, allowing Melancon the chance to earn his first save of the year. The 34-year-old has a 4.02 ERA, 1.56 WHIP and 37:16 K:BB through 40.1 innings this season.
Melancon (3-2) took the loss after allowing four baserunners and giving up the winning run over one-third of an inning in Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Diamondbacks. Melancon recorded his lone out after giving up a leadoff single in the 10th inning, but two consecutive walks got the reliever into hot water. Tim Locastro eventually delivered the game-winning single, giving Melancon his second loss of the season. The 34-year-old has generally been effective as one of the Giants' setup men this year (3.16 ERA, 8.3 K/9), but he occasionally turns in a dud interspersed with outings that remind fantasy owners of his prime years. For now, Melancon is just a stash candidate for future saves in the event steady closer Will Smith is moved at the trade deadline.
Melancon owns a 2.31 ERA and 2.4 K/BB through 23.1 innings this season. Melancon has quietly got his career back on track after struggling with both performance and health through his first two seasons in San Francisco. The 34-year-old isn't as untouchable (7.3 K/9 and 1.24 WHIP) as he used to be when he was one of the league's top closers from 2013 to 2016, but the results are certainly a step back in the right direction. Will Smith is firmly entrenched as the Giants' closer, but Melancon -- and his seemingly unmovable contract -- could be a candidate to close if the former is dealt at the trade deadline.
Melancon has yet to be used in a save situation this season. Manager Bruce Bochy said in mid-April that Melancon would get some saves, but he's yet to be given the chance. The veteran's ERA was unblemished through his first 10 outings, but he's allowed three runs in his last two appearances. It may take an injury to current closer Will Smith (or a midseason trade) for Melancon to stake a claim for the role, though Sam Dyson (who has one save) could still be ahead of him.
Melancon is expected to get some chances in save situations this season, Kerry Crowley of The San Jose Mercury News reports. While the Giants' primary closer remains Will Smith, manager Bruce Bochy noted that Melancon could get some chances in the ninth inning as the season unfolds. He's been stellar for the Giants in a setup role so far in 2019 and has yet to allow a run over 10 innings of work.