Mets manager Jerry Manuel says Bobby Parnell will have to wait to close

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UPDATE: According to Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog.com, Manuel softened on his stance during an appearance on WFAN in New York this afternoon, saying Parnell will be used in certain save situations. Good enough for me.

4:16 PM:
In case you hadn’t noticed, Bobby Parnell has been pretty impressive since being called up from Triple-A Buffalo at the end of June, posting a 3.12 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and a 27/6 K/BB ratio over 26 innings. His numbers have been inflated by a couple poor outings, however he has been unscored upon in 24 out of his 28 appearances.

With a fastball that averages 96.3 mph, up there with Neftali Feliz and Daniel Bard among the hardest throwing relievers in baseball, the 25-year-old right-hander has the kind of swing-and-miss stuff you look for in a closer. Unless you’re the Mets, that is.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel told Dan Martin of the New York Post that he is content to stick with Hisanori Takahashi for now.

“There will come a time in his career where he’ll be the guy you give the ball to in the ninth inning,” said Manuel, who used Hisanori Takahashi in
the ninth last night. “We gotta try to do what we can to win games.
There will be an opportunity for him to save games. If we think it’s a
better matchup, then Takahashi will get the opportunity.”

I don’t want to take anything away from Takahashi. The Japanese left-hander has had a fine debut season stateside, posting a 2.50 ERA and a 1.16 ERA over 25 appearances as a reliever, compiling a 44/17 K/BB ratio in 39 2/3 innings. These are excellent numbers, so I would expect him to have an important role, but the number I keep focusing on is 35. As in, Takahashi’s age.

For a team that is pretty much out of things in the playoff race, doesn’t it make sense for someone who may have a long-term future in the organization to get a real shot? Besides, Parnell hasn’t done anything to suggest he wouldn’t do as a good of a job as Takahashi. This is the rarest of situations where I’m rooting for a closer-by-committee, just to see Parnell get a chance.  

 

David Ortiz had the Rays cancel his pregame ceremony out of respect for Jose Fernandez

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 23:  David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox salutes a fan before his turn at bat during the first inning of their game with the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on September 23, 2016 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images)
Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images
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The Rays were set to honor retiring Red Sox DH David Ortiz with a ceremony prior to Sunday’s game, but as Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports, the slugger requested it be canceled out of respect for Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who tragically died early Sunday morning in a boating accident.

Ortiz was seen tearing up as the Rays remembered Fernandez and held a moment of silence:

Kudos to Ortiz for doing the right thing.

Curtis Granderson is close to making history

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 22:  Curtis Granderson #3 of the New York Mets connects on a three-run home run in the second inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on September 22, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
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With a fourth-inning solo home run off of Phillies starter Jake Thompson, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson reached the 30-homer plateau for the fourth time in his 13-year career. It’s a moment worth celebrating, only there’s one problem: he has just 56 RBI on the season.

There are many reasons for the low RBI total. 24 of Granderson’s 30 homers have come with the bases empty. He came into Sunday’s action hitting just .140 in 124 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and .197 with runners on base. He has hit leadoff for most of the season, meaning he’s had the Mets’ pitchers hitting “ahead” of him in the No. 9 slot as well as the Mets’ catchers typically hitting eighth. Mets catchers, collectively, have a .296 on-base percentage, the second-worst mark in the National League.

Since the end of August, Granderson has hit cleanup with Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes hitting in front of him. That change hasn’t been for naught, as he has 17 RBI in 21 games since.

Still, Granderson is on pace for the fewest RBI in a 30-homer season. Rob Deer and Felix Mantilla are tied for the record with 64 RBI. Deer (32 HR) accomplished the feat in 1992 with the Tigers and Mantilla (30 HR) in 1964 with the Red Sox. Only eight players have had 70 or fewer RBI in a 30-homer season. Evan Gattis is currently sitting on 30 homers with 68 RBI.