Opinion

Mark Melancon, Andrew Miller receive Reliever of the Year Awards

Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred (center) shareed a laugh with Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Mark Melancon (left) and New York Yankees pitcher Andrew Miller before the start of Wednesday’s World Series game at Kauffman Stadium. Melancon was selected the top relief pitcher in teh National League, and Miller won the honor in the American League.
Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred (center) shareed a laugh with Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Mark Melancon (left) and New York Yankees pitcher Andrew Miller before the start of Wednesday’s World Series game at Kauffman Stadium. Melancon was selected the top relief pitcher in teh National League, and Miller won the honor in the American League. deulitt@kcstar.com

A pair of closers won the Major League Baseball Reliever of the Year Awards presented Wednesday prior to Game 2 of the World Series.

Pittsburgh Pirates closer Mark Melancon won the Trevor Hoffman Award, given to the National League relief pitcher of the year.

New York Yankees closer Andrew Miller was given the Mariano Rivera Award as the best relief pitcher in the American League.

Miller had 36 saves, a 2.04 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings

This is an incredible honor, something I never dreamed of,” Miller said. “To be associated with anything with Mariano's name on it, probably more than I deserve. Nobody has a better reputation, and especially off the field, than him. It’s something I’ll cherish.”

Melancon had 51 saves in 53 opportunities last season with a 2.23 ERA.

“This award means more than just the on-field stuff,” Melancon said. “These guys, their names are bigger than baseball, anything they've done in baseball. Tremendous people and that goes so much further in my book to be with these guys up here in that regard. So just a special, special thing.”

Hoffman and Rivera were on hand at the awards presentation. Hoffman said the award was open to more than only closers and that he had a vote.

“To be able to decipher who had the best year and to be a part of that process has been great,” Hoffman said. “To gather the information and be somewhat unbiased toward it and take the closer out, Wade (Davis) in his reliever role this year was dominant and equally as important as closing out a game.

“To try and take in all the factors and their value, at the end of the day, those three outs at the end of the game have just a little more impact.”

Davis had an 0.94 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 67 1/3 innings. He also had 17 saves and took over the closer’s role when Greg Holland went down with an injury.

“For Wade to not skip a beat, moving out of multiple inning roles to the back end, game on the line, type of thing and to do it flawlessly is pretty impressive,” Hoffman said.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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