Bobby Parnell struck out the side in the ninth inning of the Mets 6-2 win over the Astros last night. He lowered his ERA to 2.31 for the spring in 12 appearances. Parnell looks to be in mid-season form as he prepares to take on the closer role for the Mets. I believe this was the plan all along even if Frank Francisco hadn’t gotten hurt.
Pitching coach Dan Warthen is confident that Parnell will rise to the occasion this time and that he is ready to shine as the team’s closer saying he’s “just short of excellent.”
“I think he’s thrown the baseball as well as he wants to, his breaking ball has gotten better, he’s starting to use his changeup a little bit now — which most people don’t recognize — and also he’s locating.”
Parnell, who has struggled in the role before, says his confidence is high and that he was able to relax and focus on his pitching knowing that the job was his from the start of camp. .
“I felt like I could focus on pitching instead of having to work to earn a spot. To have their confidence and be able to relax during spring training is big.”
Part of his success this spring stems from the curveball he worked on last season. The hard-throwing righthander is using the curve more often rather than relying predominantly on his plus fastball, and it has made a big difference and made him more effective.
If his success in camp carries over into the regular season, Parnell could have a breakthrough season in 2013.