Ernesto Frieri was used instead of Melancon. Frieri would probably be one of, if not the last guy I would use in that situation, but here we are. Clint Hurdle will never admit it but Melancon wasn't used because it wasn't a save situation and when you play on the road the visiting team will always have a chance for a save situation if they go up (unlike the home team) so Hurdle likes to save the closer for that. Actually Hurdle said this after the game:
Hurdle on not using Melancon: "We actually were going to use him the next inning through the middle of the lineup."
— Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) July 9, 2014
Well that is just great. Good thing there was a next inning. Oh wait, there wasn't. Maybe Hurdle thought that you automatically got a tenth inning if your team didn't score in the top of the ninth in a tie game. That isn't how it works and while Melancon could have gave up a home run, or a run, he was a vastly better option than Frieri. It is true that maybe there isn't a great deal to turn to in that spot without Watson and Jared Hughes out there but I probably roll the dice with Jeanmar Gómez or use Melancon in the ninth and then go with Gomez for a couple of innings. In any case I do not go to Frieri.
This wasn't all about that mistake. This was about the offense too. The Pirates had chances, again, and just didn't capitalize. They went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position with Starling Marte (0-3) and Neil Walker (0-2) combining to not have a hit in five opportunities. I said last night that I am not overly worried about this trend (if you want to call it that) and I am still not but holy hell is it frustrating to watch in games like this.