Bobby Parnell has undoubtedly developed into a very good pitcher. He acks up a 100 MPH sinker with a superb knucklecurve, and often keeps hitters off-balance, and rarely walks batters anymore. He has shut down stuff. The kind of stuff for a premier 8th or 9th inning guy on any team.
So why the hell can't he, or Josh Thole, remember the most basic tenets of pitching and hitting?
As early as 5th grade, I was taught one very basic rule of hitting that rings true throughout baseball at any level: Hit the ball where it is pitched. Inside pitches should be turned on to left field for a righty (right field for me), and the bat head should be a little out in front of the plate. More patience is necessary for outside pitches, which you are supposed to hit a bit later than you would a pitch down the middle or inside, so as to go to the opposite field with hit, and get the barrel of the bat on the ball without changing your swing.
Everybody has heard the same shpiel growing up, and I am sure you all have as well. However, this seems to elude both Josh Thole and Bobby Parnell. Parnell's fastball is filthy fast, with nice sink, so naturally, it's probably one of the hardest pitches in baseball to turn on to the pull side. Of course, every damn fastball he has thrown in his past two appearances has been OUTSIDE. 100 MPH is hard to any caliber hitter, but it becomes much easier when you are SUPPOSED to be late on it. Martin Prado took note of this, hitting a solid line drive to right field after the third straight outside fastball thrown to him. Last night, Michael Morse followed suit, and finally, Danny Espinosa took advantage of the same idiocy of pitch calling. It is idiocy.
With the quality of Bobby Parnell's curveball, he can easily assert himself now as one of the Top 10 closers in Major League Baseball, and perhaps even Top 5 setup men, but he and Thole need to learn to attack hitters. I will admit that the 12 straight curveballs or whatever was a very nice change of pace and very creative, but even then after all those curveballs, Parnell laid a 99 MPH sinker on the outside corner only to see it be knocked as a game-tying hit. It's time for Parnell to pitch like his namesake R.A. Dickey, and have the bulldog mentality, or he will not survive as a pitcher. It's time for Parnell to throw a Goddamn Fastball Inside (TM)
On an added note, Thole was also idiotic to call a 3-2 slider to Chipper Jones, one of the most disciplined players in the Majors who is also 40 years old and therefore would clearly have trouble turning on Josh Edgin's 95 MPH fastball.