Friday, May 8, 2009

Bigger Role for Parnell?

It was interesting to hear Jerry Manuel's comments after last night's game (read to the bottom). With K-Rod tonight unavailable after notching saves in four straight games, Manuel said that JJ Putz or Bobby Parnell will be called upon if a save situation is in order against the Pirates.

It's another clear sign that Sean Green has fallen out of favor and that Parnell has moved ahead of him on the depth chart. I have to admit, I did not expect much from Bobby Parnell this season, but he has made positive contributions so far. He hasn’t exactly been dominant, but he’s been good enough to merit a longer look.

Parnell’s repertoire – a blazing fastball and average breaking stuff – is the stuff that relievers are made of, and so far he’s making the most of his opportunities. That may be why he was so unsuccessful as a starter, since starters need more pitches to give batters different looks the second and third time around the order.

So far Manuel has used Parnell carefully, usually allowing him to start innings instead of coming in with runners already on base. Perhaps Parnell’s appearance in the middle of the seventh inning of Tuesday’s 4-1 win over the Braves really was a sign that he will be called upon in higher-leverage situations in the coming weeks.

Tuesday night’s performance, in which Parnell entered with men on base and gave up a run-scoring double to Martin Prado before getting out of the inning, are the types of appearances that good relievers have to succeed in. Starters get a chance to work their way out of trouble; relievers generally do not.


TW said...

As always, your fly by night analysis leaves readers scratching their heads. Prado's double was a nasty fastball low and on the inside of the plate. It was a pitcher's pitch and Prado just made a good swing. Tip your hat. What was impressive is that he got the next out without further damage.

Parnell throws hard and more importantly, throws strikes, yes, he would never make as a starter but in four years, with some work on some off speed stuff, could be our closer.

Jack Flynn said...

Just reporting the facts, Cisco. He gave up the double, no?

I come here to praise Parnell, not to bury him.

TW said...

Anything to stop short of giving me the pat on the back for being right, huh Slappy? Tough crowd.

Jack Flynn said...

Joe thinks he was right too. I'm saying the kid has thrown 15 good innings. He's done enough to get more chances, but not enough for me to assume he's the 2010 set-up man and the 2012 closer.