It’s a role he’s held three times before, but never could retain for more than a week or two and never with any success.
While Parnell looks tantalizingly fit for the closers role by virtue of his devastating fastball which can check in at 100mph, his stomach for the job has been found wanting.
In the 22 save opportunities he’s been entrusted with in his career, Parnell has accumulated a whopping 15 blown saves. That includes his three blown saves in three opportunities in 2012.
When pitching in the ninth inning, opposing hitters are batting .303 against him, and in high leverage situations it’s even worse as Parnell has been torched for a .344 batting average, .410 on-base, and an .856 OPS.
Look, I completely understand that the options for the Mets are limited at this point, but they have been burned by Parnell too many times already in these situations, and it’s clear that under pressure Parnell has always failed to deliver the goods. The issue here is not mechanics or performance related. Parnell simply doesn’t have the makeup for the role. He has no growl, no sneer, no eye of the tiger.
The Mets currently have the worst bullpen in baseball as evidenced by an unsightly league-worst 5.27 ERA. But unless Parnell has suddenly been exposed to some green gamma rays that have left him with some yet unseen super powers, things are about to get worse for our poison pen.
Collins isn’t worried because he says, “Parnell’s been throwing very, very well”. But Parnell is always throwing well when he’s not pitching in the bowels of those hellish ninth innings.
This could get real ugly.