Those who believe Bobby Parnell just doesn’t have the mentality to close have gained a little more ammunition over the last week.
Parnell blew his second save in four days, and Pedro Beato threw a wild pitch to score the winning run in the 10th as the Mets lost to the Nationals 5-4 on Tuesday.
Parnell is now 2-for-4 in save opportunities since replacing the injured Frank Francisco in the closer’s role. He hasn’t really fallen apart in either blown save; the Nationals, like the Braves before them on Saturday, simply managed to string together three singles and score a run off him tonight. Still, that can’t make manager Terry Collins feel much better about things.
After Parnell lost a one-run lead in the ninth, the Mets went back ahead in the top of the 10th on a Josh Thole double. However, Tim Byrdak and Beato combined to blow it from there. A Bryce Harper triple tied the game, and Beato’s wild pitch ended it.
With Parnell looking like a better option in the eighth than the ninth, the Mets could go to a closer-by-committee until Francisco returns. However, they’re short of quality alternatives, and one guy Collins does seem to have faith in for a late-inning role, Miguel Batista, is about to move into the rotation in place of Dillon Gee.
The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.
AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.
With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.