Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/18/14
The Pittsburgh Pirates placed All Star closer Jason Grilli on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right forearm on Tuesday. It did not affect them in their contest against the Washington Nationals, in which they prevailed 5-1. Jason Grilli (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Gene Puskar) The 36-year-old is in his first season as a closer and he is blossoming but good. So far this season, Grill Cheese has an NL leading 30 saves, 153 ERA+ and 0.921 WHIP. The Pirates are 20 games over .500 at 59-39. This team hasn’t had a winning season nor a playoff berth since 1992. They showed signs of life in 2011 and 2012 before faltering. With Grilli in the closer’s role, they have raised the Jolly Roger time and time again, but that doesn’t mean they should hit the panic button with him being out. Neal Huntington has done an amazing job as the general manager of this ball club. The moves he has made have really paid off. Perhaps the most notable is what he did this past offseason when he shipped another former All Star closer in Joel Hanrahan to the Boston Red Sox. They got prospect Jerry Sands in return, as well as reliever Mark Melancon. It hasn’t just been Grilli who has made life at the box a nightmare for opposing batters. The 28-year-old Melancon earned an All Star selection this season. He has a 376 ERA+ and 0.803 WHIP. Granted, he was selected as a replacement, but he has just been downright nasty that he should’ve gone to Citi Field on his own merit. Manager Clint Hurdle said Melancon is going to assume closer duties while Grilli is on the shelf, and if he does well, one would have to think he’ll get a full time job in that slot if not in Pittsburgh then somewhere else. Granted, relievers and setup men don’t always transition well into the closer’s job, but with what he is doing, Pittsburgh should be just fine without him. At 3.07, they have the best team ERA in all of baseball. With 36 saves, only the Baltimore Orioles have more with 39. With a 1.18 WHIP, they are tied for the lowest in the game along with the Cincinnati Reds and Oakland Athletics. Gerrit Cole hasn’t been as good of a rookie as Jose Fernandez or Shelby Miller, but it’s hard to be unhappy with his performance, and All Star lefty Jeff Locke and his 168 ERA+ is a big reason why Pittsburgh’s pitching stats are in the shape it is in. They are firing on all cylinders and though their offensive stats as a whole aren’t quite as impressive, they are still putting up runs. There is no doubt this team would love to have Grilli back out there on the mound closing games out there as soon as possible, but it’s far from the end of the world as he’ll likely be back soon, and the chances of an astronomical collapse that they fail to have a winning season again have to be slim to none.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Jeff Driskel thinking about transfer to Duke

Browns suspend Josh Gordon for final game of season

Michigan brass in Bay Area for Jim Harbaugh pursuit

Report: Rex Ryan has already cleaned out his office

Clint Trickett retires due to concussions, hid two

Drew Stanton likely out for the year, postseason included

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Byron Scott: ‘Idiots’ think Lakers are better team without Kobe

Undrafted QB Connor Shaw to sign with Browns, likely start

Report: Alex Smith out Week 17 with lacerated spleen

Belichick: Garoppolo has better understanding of NFL

Lionel Hollins: 'Honored and blessed to coach Kevin Garnett'

Curt Schilling gives Johnny Manziel advice on Twitter

WATCH: Rory McIlroy trolled by 'Sweet Caroline' song

Auburn, Wisconsin players literally ate tons of food

Did Kobe Bryant respond to heckler with the rings count?

Doug Fister bought Starbucks for his Twitter followers

DeMarco Murray dumped over cheating accusations?

Video: Rudy Gay tosses half-court alley-oop to McLemore

WATCH: Craig Sager is touched by outpouring of support during leukemia fight

Hiroki Kuroda returns to Japan, ditches Yankees

Kevin Garnett: ‘Very weird’ to see Celtics without Rajon Rondo

Report: New Jersey Devils fire head coach Peter DeBoer

Mark Richt confirms Todd Gurley will leave UGA for NFL

Frank Gore: Colin Kaepernick is 'not broke'

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Rory McIlroy trolled with 'Sweet Caroline'

Browns suspend Josh Gordon

Kobe gives heckler the rings count?

Murray dumped over cheating scandal?

Rex Ryan has cleaned out his office

Five breakout stars in 2014

The 2014 NFL All-Help Offense

Five things learned about NBA on X-Mas

What if Bear Bryant coached in the NFL?

Carmelo Anthony: The Knicks are dying

The last time the Lions won in Green Bay

Year's most notable sports media stories

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.