FLUSHING, NY – Maybe the Mets should let Bobby Parnell only pitch to open a homestand, because since becoming a starter, he’s allowed no runs in 13 innings when he opened up Citi Field, but 24 runs in his other 15 innings.
Although Parnell says it’s “over thinking” there may be more to it. This is a young pitcher, the Mets are very high on and when he sits around all week, the pressure mounts.
“It’s something I have to do with myself,” Parnell said. “I need to go out there and have some fun. Over the past few weeks, the game hasn’t been fun for me.”
Tonight, though, Parnell had fun with the Cubs, as he was able to pitch out of jams, while maintaining a very fragile 1-0 lead thanks to Corey Sullivan’s second inning homer. He was getting his breaking pitches over, while able to spot his 97 m.p.h. Fastball. That’s what he needs to be successful.
Hopefully, this is the start of something big for Parnell, who really has struggled over the past month. Right now, the Mets are in a situation where they can evaluate their players. Next season, they probably will need two starters if John Maine, who could be looking at $4 million to $5 million in arbitration is non-tendered. That means, Parnell may be right in line for a spot.
Also, as we saw this season, pitching is fragile, and there’s always going to be room for a starter. If Parnell can make it through these final weeks not looking like a batting practice pitcher, then we might have something here, otherwise, he may pitch his way out of the Mets plans.
With today’s post-Madoff Mets, there’s probably going to be room for a rookie in the rotation next year. Besides Parnell, they Mets will also look at Jon Niese, who is coming back from his hamstring injury, and Brad Holt will also get a long look in Spring Training. But it’s probably unlikely the team will carry two rookies on the staff as they will probably try to either sign or trade for a veteran presence to go with Johan Santana.
So Parnell has some work to do. These next four or five starts of his could be the key for him to secure a spot in 2010. If the young righthander, who says he prefers starting, doesn’t come through, it might mean back to the bullpen or worse – a trip to Buffalo.
First he has his next start – probably on Thursday against the Marlins. There Parnell can prove he can pitch to end a homestand, not just to open one.