Mark Melancon To Close for Houston Astros, Brandon Lyon to 15-Day DL

Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIMay 6, 2011

HOUSTON - APRIL 14:  Pitcher Mark Melancon #54 of the Houston Astros pumps his fist after getting out of jam in the eightg inning against the San Diego Padres at Minute Maid Park on April 14, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

After Wednesday afternoon's debacle against the Cincinnati Reds, I was all prepared to write a “When do the Houston Astros replace Brandon Lyon?” post. I didn’t get to it because of some prior obligations, but it’s amazing how things work themselves out sometimes.

The Astros don’t have to worry about when to replace Lyon because Lyon essentially replaced himself. The Astros placed Lyon on the 15-day DL yesterday after it was revealed that he had a partially torn rotator cuff in his pitching shoulder.

Lyon was brutal this year. He’s given up 21 hits in 11.2 innings and his K/9 rate is just 3.9, which is half of what it was last season. His velocity on his fastball was down from last year and his newfound cutter did more damage than good.

With Lyon out, Mark Melancon is in at closer for the Astros.

Melancon came over to the Astros in the Lance Berkman trade last season and since then, he has been nothing but solid in a Houston uniform. Melancon has a 2.45 ERA and an 8.5 K/9 in 33 innings.

He has a solid fastball in the low to mid-90s and has a nice 65 percent ground-ball percentage. The 26-year-old hasn’t allowed a home run yet this season. Melancon has allowed just one run in his last 7.1 innings, so he is pretty hot right now.

He will certainly be an upgrade over Lyon in the ninth and while the New York Yankees got nothing out of the Berkman trade, the Astros might have gotten themselves their future closer.

He should be a solid No. 2 closer in most fantasy formats.