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Congratulations to Isringhausen on #300, but is Parnell Ready to Close for the Mets?

Jason Isringhausen (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

In 1995, on the heels Bill Pulsipher’s call up, the Mets called up 22-year old flamethrower Jason Isringhausen. Followed by Paul Wilson in ’96, they formed what is known by Met fans as Generation K. They were three super talented, hard throwing starters all in their early 20s; the next generation of great starting pitchers. Among the three Isringhausen was considered the most talented, he possessed a mid-90s fastball and a knuckle curve so devastating, he had trouble keeping it in the strike zone. His stuff was electric; in ’95 he took the league by storm – winning 9 of his 14 starts. He was instilled as a full time starter the following year and failed to impress, and following wrists and elbow problems in ’97 and ’98 he was traded to Oakland in ‘99. One very important event occurred in 1999, before he was traded to Oakland, Izzy recorded his first major league save – a three inning unconventional save.

Success with Other Clubs

He enjoyed most of his success closing games for Oakland and later for the Cardinals. Little known fact was that Izzy was the Cardinals closer in 2006 before he hurt his hip. We all know how that season ended for the Mets. For the A’s and Cardinals, Izzy racked up 292 saves, giving him a total of 293 heading into 2011.

The Return of Izzy

A year and half out of baseball, following his third Tommy John Surgery, and at 38-years old Izzy’s career was considered over. No teams were interested in signing him. He had to convince the Mets to give him a tryout. On April 11th, facing the Colorado Rockies, Isringhausen re-debuted as a Met, and Citi Field gave him a loud and warm reception. It was apparent then, if not before, that Met fans still loved Izzy. After making two appearances he was the Mets newly anointed setup man.

Number 300

With an eye on Izzy’s 300th save, he was given the closing role by manager Terry Collins following the trade of Francisco Rodriguez to the Brewers. Six saves later, sitting on 299 he entered the game in the bottom of the 10th inning against the San Diego Padres, he was called upon to protect a 5-4 lead. In classic Izzy fashion, he got himself in and out of trouble and notched his 300th save. It was a big moment for the Mets franchise, but more importantly, it was a huge moment for the Met fans. It was a moment to celebrate a player that fans truly felt as one of our own.

Where Do the Mets Turn from Here?

Getting Isringhausen his 300th save was great, but at 38 he’s not going to be here much longer. Collins has made it clear that the Mets want to give either Pedro Beato or Bobby Parnell a chance the final month and a half.

Pedro Beato

Before hurting his elbow in early May, Beato was dominant. He threw 17 innings without allowing an earn run. Since returning from the DL, he has been inconsistent. The main issue with Beato is his control – he has had trouble throwing strikes lately. That being said, his stuff is still great. Beato possesses four quality pitches, and the Mets have floated around the idea of transiting him back into a starter. The best course of action for Beato would be to let him pitch winter ball, stretch him out, and see what he can do as a starter.

Bobby Parnell

Considered by many the heir to K-Rod’s throne, Parnell certainly has the stuff to be and elite closer. His fastball regularly touches triple-digits, as high has 103 on multiple occasions. The Mets organization, and surely the fans, aren’t completely sold on the idea that Parnell has the makeup to be a shutdown closer. While he does throw 100, his fastball is very straight, and major league hitters can hit a fastball – even at 100. When his control is good, hitting corners, he can look unhittable, but when his control is off, hitters can sit on his fastball and this is when he gets hurt. The developments of his secondary pitches are not where it needs to be, his slider and changeup are inconsistent, and and area he needs to improve. Hitters are hitting .286 off of him. For someone who throws 100, that simply cannot happen. That being said, Parnell is still the best option to close games down the stretch for the Mets. The Mets need to know what they have in Parnell, is he’s going to continue to be an enigma or is he the future closer the Mets envision him being. For Parnell, it’s put up or shut up time.

About A Lee

I'm as happy as the Mets, Knicks, Lions, and Devils allow me to be.

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One comment for “Congratulations to Isringhausen on #300, but is Parnell Ready to Close for the Mets?”

  1. New Post: Congratulations to Isringhausen on #300, but is Parnell Ready to Close for the Mets? http://t.co/0TP31Xx

    Posted by Sports of New York | August 19, 2011, 12:50 am

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