Weight off Bobby Parnell's shoulders after first save in 2 years
Bobby Parnell isn't, and likely won't be, the New York Mets' closer this season, but circumstance granted him an opportunity for a save and a personal milestone on Tuesday night.
Parnell came in for the Mets in the eighth inning trying to preserve a 3-0 lead with the bases loaded and one out. Up to bat, the Blue Jays' No. 3 hitter, Jose Bautista.
It marked the first major pressure situation for Parnell after his long-awaited return to the team over the weekend following a long rehab from Tommy John surgery.
"Sometimes to swim, you've got to jump in the deep end, right?" Parnell said after Tuesday's game.
Bautista hit a sacrifice fly to right, and the Blue Jays' next batter, Edwin Encarnación, singled to drive in another run and put the Jays within a run of tying up the game.
With two runners on and more potential damage in the offing, Parnell then struck out Chris Collabello to get out of the inning with the Mets still leading, 3-2, which proved to be the game's final score.
"He showed you tonight, he knows how to pitch," manager Terry Collins said. "You can't put him in a bigger situation than what he was in tonight. … It's nice to know we’ve got another weapon down there."
With closer Jeurys Familia overworked lately, Parnell then took the hill again for the Mets in the ninth inning and completed a five-out save.
"The hardest thing about the ninth inning is mental, being able to control yourself," Parnell said. "I feel like I've done good job with that."
The save marked a big milestone for Parnell, as it was his first since July 30, 2013.
"I finally had some weight off my shoulders," Parnell reflected of getting the last out in Tuesday's save. "It was over and I could turn the page."
(h/t New York Post)