Mets begin “transition” to Bobby Parnell as closer


Now that Jason Isringhausen has his 300th career save the Mets are ready to give Bobby Parnell a chance as their primary closer.

Anthony DiComo of writes that “according to manager Terry Collins the transition to Parnell as closer begins now.”

Parnell has just one career save, but he’s been a good setup man since moving to the bullpen full time in 2009, posting a 3.62 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 132 innings as a reliever.

That includes 49 strikeouts in 40 innings this season, making him one of just six National League relievers to average at least 11 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s also one of just four NL relievers to average at least 97 miles per hour with his fastball, so despite his inexperience in the role Parnell definitely has the stuff and strikeout rate to potentially thrive as a closer.

Clayton Kershaw completes spring training with a 0.00 ERA

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Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.

In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.

The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.

The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.