Monday, July 25, 2011

Psychological impact of losing Krod on Parnell

Photo by Michael Baron
There's a reason Luis Ayala recorded nine saves for the Mets in 2008 and it wasn't because the waiver wire pick-up from the lowly Nats ( at that time) was the best option, it was because once Billy Wagner went down none of the viable options could handle the position.

First up was Aaron Heilman who saw his numbers in August balloon to a .283 BAA and 7.90 ERA.  Duaner Sanchez had similar numbers with a 7.94 ERA and a .360 BAA also in August.  In Sept Brian Stokes gave it a try resulting in a .300 BAA and 4.61 ERA.  And the guy who closed out the season for us Scott Schoeneweis had a 5.40 ERA with a .345 BAA for the last month. 

Even Ayala who had a 5.65 ERA in August but held hitters to a .246 BAA saw that increase to a .340 BAA in Sept. while his ERA increased to 6.55 ERA. 

I'm leaving out a few participates like Parnell himself, Carlos Muniz, Eddie Kunz, Joe Smith, and Ricardo Rincon but they were really only in a few games. 

You could say that these were just mediocre pitchers who as the season progressed became more exposed and exploited by hitters, but it just seems odd that they all seemed to struggle once Wagner was gone and their comfortable role was gone...

I bring up 2008 because it appears that history is repeating itself, since Krod was traded even though Jason Isringhausen has been closing Bobby Parnell has struggled. 

His first night back after the All-Star break was his only successful outing and even that needed a great double play started by Jose Reyes after Parnell had loaded the bases.  In the three games since that Cards game Parnell has allowed six hits, four runs and two walks while striking out three.  Compare that to the prior 26 innings this season where he only gave up 26 hits, only 10 runs and 10 walks while striking out 33.

Maybe it's just coincidental that Parnell is going through a bad stretch and that seemingly every effective pitcher struggled once Wags went down in '08' but I have a hard time denying the psychological effects of losing the closer and the self imposed pressure they've placed on themselves...