Bobby Parnell did notch a save two years ago, but that was credited by virtue of pitching three innings of mop-up duty in a 9-0 win against the St. Louis Cardinals. So protecting a 7-4 lead in the ninth inning Wednesday in Philadelphia most certainly felt like the first time for Parnell.
New York Mets
And he admitted feeling nervous -- with the angst percolating ever since Francisco Rodriguez had been traded the night of the All-Star Game to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Jason Isringhausen had handled the early save opportunities after the July 12 deal, but Izzy has now reached the 300-save milestone and Parnell is going to be given opportunities to prove he can handle the role in 2012.
“Ever since Frankie got traded, I’ve been hoping for an opportunity to do this,” Parnell said. “I kind of have been putting pressure on myself. And it just accumulated today. Luckily, everything went good. Hopefully it goes away a little bit, gets easier.”
Parnell did walk leadoff hitter Chase Utley on four pitches. After fanning Ryan Howard with a 100 mph offering and striking out Hunter Pence too, Parnell issued his second walk of the inning, to John Mayberry Jr. Parnell then retired Carlos Ruiz on a groundout to secure the Mets win and his second major league save.
“The walks were just nerves, I guess,” Parnell said. “I felt like I was throwing it right down the middle, but I obviously didn’t. They’ll go away as time goes on.”
As for the more lighthearted subjects:
Parnell said Izzy did not give him much of an inspirational speech before he left the bullpen for his first high-pressure major league save.
“Go get ’em,” Parnell said was the advice.
Parnell added he is not switching his music to something more “Hells Bells”-ish now that he is a bona fide closer.
“Same old,” Parnell said, referring to his country-music selection. “Jake Owen. ‘Eight Second Ride.’”