What’s worse than watching a baseball game in September that’s meaningless? How about watching a meaningless baseball game in September being played in “Your Name Here” Stadium in South Florida in front of dozens of fans with an hour plus rain delay? Then when the game resumes your team in this meaningless contest has the lead and the pitcher who is thought to be the closer of the future comes in and blows the save for the fourth time in nine chances, but his ass is saved by a player who you couldn’t give away at least three times this season getting the game winning hit?
So is the tale of Bobby Parnell and Nick Evans. Parnell has been given the opportunity to show he should be the closer for the Mets from now until whenever but he has shown that he does not have the qualities needed to be effective at that position. Parnell has a flamethrower for a right arm but has a ton of trouble locating pitches for strikes. He also has this nasty habit of giving up a hit and then falls apart by falling behind in the count to the next batter who either walks or gets a nice juicy fastball or a flat slider to mash at. It’s not just the pitches that are ineffective; it seems Parnell loses some nerve and confidence when he’s behind the 8 ball. Small fires become forest fires for him on the mound.
It looks as though the manager who has shown a lot of faith in him is starting to doubt if Parnell can close out games:
“Well, we’re going to talk to Bobby tomorrow,” Collins said. “I mean, there’s a couple things (pitching coach) Dan (Warthen) had talked about with him, a couple of little pitch-location stuff that he’s just got to be able to make. He’s got to make some pitches.
“He’s got a great arm and he’s got really great stuff. But the bases on balls hurt him. Getting behind in the count hurts him. You saw the first hitter, he went right at him with good fastballs, got ahead of him in the count, and throws him a slider and it’s a mismatch. But you’ve got to be able to get ahead.”
It has got to be deflating to the team to have Parnell blow as many saves as he has and Collins made be sensing some frustration in the clubhouse so why not take Parnell out of this roll and let him work on getting his mind as well as his pitches back to where he can be effective. There is too much talent in that right arm to give up on Parnell, but Terry Collins wants to end this season on a winning note as well as evaluating players who have a future with the Mets and who doesn’t. Using a committee of Manny Acosta, Jason Isringhausen and the neophyte Josh Stinson looks to be the way to go for these final weeks of the season.
As for Nick Evans, how can you not root for him? He’s been tossed on the scrap heap time and again but never gets discouraged and when he gets opportunities, as he is now playing 1st base on a nightly basis, he is producing with his bat and his glove. From trolling around the team you can tell the players hold Evans in high regard as they know how hard he works to stay in the big leagues and if he can continue to produce like he has, and impress the manager like he has, he will have a spot on the 2012 Mets 25 man roster.