Melancon: ‘Records are being broken left and right, and it’s kind of ridiculous’

In the few weeks since being named Atlanta’s newest closer following his trade from San Francisco, Mark Melancon’s quickly settled into the role while converting his first five save opportunities.

But as he anchors the bullpen’s back end on a team with deep postseason expectations, Melancon – like other vocal veteran pitchers around the game this year – is aware of the effect a more aerodynamic ball is having.

Melancon said 2019’s homer-happy baseball -- which has both the majors and Class AAA on a historic home run pace -- has changed the way he approaches closing in certain parks such as Coors Field, where the Braves took on the Rockies on Monday in a stadium playing to pre-humidor scoring levels.

The 34-year-old Colorado native with 188 career saves added he “100 percent” believes Major League Baseball intentionally “juiced” the baseball. The league has owned Rawlings, the company that makes the baseballs, since last summer.

“The ball just doesn’t switch like that in an offseason,” Melancon said. “Records are being broken left and right, and it’s kind of ridiculous.”

Even with fly balls turning into cheap round-trippers at an alarming rate around the league, Melancon said he still relishes the pressure of closing in the year of the “juiced” ball … even as he concurrently believes the game’s top brass have some serious offseason thinking to do.

“Major League Baseball has some things to think about because I don’t think the game is as exciting anymore, the way they’ve juiced these balls,” Melancon said. “I think their thoughts were that home runs were going to be a good thing, but when (about) 60 percent of the runs are scored via home run, there’s no action on the bases or in the field. It’s a strike out or a home run, and it’s kind of become a boring game for fans.”