The Pittsburgh Pirates ruined a chance to win a fourth consecutive series Thursday afternoon in Milwaukee as they managed to blow their fourth lead after the seventh inning this season, surpassing the total number of post-seventh inning leads blown in all of 2013.
Mark Melancon was the culprit Thursday, as he allowed all four batters he faced to reach base in the ninth inning, blowing not only the one-run lead but the game itself as the Brewers would win 4-3. The blown save was Melancon's second of the season. Combined with injured closer Jason Grilli's three blown saves, and the Pirates could be well over .500 at this point of the season, instead of looking at a 7.5 game deficit to the Brew Crew.
The Pirates bullpen has been solid all season, racking up the most wins in the Major Leagues while posting the fourth-best ERA in the National League. However, while the rest of the bullpen and Wandy Rodriguez pitched well Thursday, Melancon's implosion is what stands out.
Pittsburgh now has a legitimate question at the back of the bullpen with who should be closing games, as both of last year's All-Stars in Melancon and Grilli haven't been providing the job this year.
So who should be closing games? Easy. Tony Watson. The left-hander has been lights-out against both righties and lefties since the midway point of the 2013 season. He already has six wins this season, alongside his sparkling ERA that sits well under 2.00.
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