Bobby Parnell notched his ninth save of the year in a 3-1 Mets victory over the Yankees tonight. For the Metropolitans, the win surprisingly sealed a series sweep against their crosstown rivals, providing them with some momentum as they head back into divisional play against the Marlins, Nationals and the Marlins again over the course of the next two weeks. For Parnell, it was his third consecutive save and the third outing in-a-row without surrendering a hit. The lanky right-hander whiffed one-of-three batters this evening, bringing his whiff rate to 25% on the season. The current 25% K% is actually higher than he’s had in the past two seasons — 23.9% and 21.2% respectively — despite missing fewer bats (8.6% SwStr%) than he has over that same time (9.8% SwStr% in ‘11, 10.1% SwStr% in ‘12). The previous data leads me to believe that Parnell’s strikeout rate could continue to rise if his ability to miss bats regresses toward his career 9.6% SwStr%. His recent success parlayed with the news that Frank Francisco was transferred to the 60-day disabled list today with continued elbow issues further proves that Parnell’s grip on the closer’s role in Flushing continues to get stronger.
Jim Johnson experienced a few bumps in the road over the past two weeks — if you consider allowing 12 earned runs in six outings “bumps” — but could be back to his old self after dishing two consecutive clean innings in which he earned saves. Johnson secured tonight’s save like we all expected, two worm burners and a strikeout. And this evening’s save, Johnson’s 17th on the year, lands him in a three-way tie with Addison Reed and Edward Mujica for the third-most saves in Major League Baseball. We’ll need to see at least two-to-three more outings like this to convert the Orioles bullpen situation from yellow back to green.
Sergio Romo isn’t missing as many bats this year as he has in the past — he sports an 11.3% SwStr%, the lowest swing-and-miss rate since his 2009 campaign — but that has yet to impede on his ability to close out games. Romo needed just 13 pitches to retire the top of the Athletics’ order tonight, inducing three consecutive fly outs to Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie and Yoenis Cespedes, to earn his 15th save on season. And although Romo doesn’t “look” like your prototypical closer or have the overpowering velocity on his offerings, his “stuff” is absolutely filthy, keeping him firmly in my top five among closers.
And on a side note, those in holds leagues should check out my updated middle reliever rankings that published earlier this afternoon.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]