ATLANTA -- Though the Mets still have not formally shut down closer Frank Francisco for the season, with less than a week left and Francisco completely idle for the past five days, all signs point to him not pitching again.
In Francisco's absence, manager Terry Collins said that Bobby Parnell will serve as the club's dedicated closer for the final six games of the season. Parnell nailed down the last two outs of R.A. Dickey's 20th win on Thursday after Jon Rauch was unable to complete his own save opportunity.
For Parnell, the assignment is a flashback to July, when Francisco spent more than a month on the disabled list and the flamethrower struggled to replace him. Yet despite those issues and despite the fact that Francisco will be back as the closer next spring, Collins said he still envisions Parnell as a future stopper in the big leagues.
"The ninth inning's a different inning, no question about it," Collins said of Parnell, who holds a 0.66 ERA over his last 14 appearances. "Certainly, his stuff is closer kind of stuff. He's pitched great, he really has."