Baseball Carlyle Steps in to Save the Day; Can Any Good Pitcher Close? The 37-year-old right-hander in his 18th season was a last-minute addition to the roster. by Staff Post April 7, 2015 Buddy Carlyle #43 of the New York Mets celebrates with teammate Wilmer Flores #4 after notching a save against the Washington Nationals on Opening Day at Nationals Park on April 6, 2015. (Credit: Getty Images / Win McNamee) Of all the potential lead stories, sidebars and plot twists that could have come out of the Mets’ opening day, the one nobody thought of was Buddy Carlyle getting the save. The 37-year-old right-hander in his 18th season of a nomadic and mostly undistinguished career was a last-minute addition to the roster, the 13th man on what will eventually be a 12-man pitching staff. An afterthought, and certainly the last man one would expect to see attempting to close out an opening day victory after the Mets opened camp in February with so many promising bullpen possibilities. But, after Jenrry Mejia couldn’t answer the bell in a scenario eerily reminiscent of Bobby Parnell blowing an opening day save to the Nationals in 2014 and then going on the shelf for the rest of the season with an elbow injury requiring Tommy John surgery, Carlyle was pressed into service to get the final two outs of the Mets’ 3-1 victory, which he did without drama and without incident. And Carlyle’s seamless ability to step right in and secure the first save of a major league career that began in 1999 but which has featured a lot of interruptions since begs one to question: Is “closing” really a special skill? Don’t get us wrong, here, a pitcher who can close out games is more valuable than ever in this age of pitch counts and games that never get completed by starters anymore. More specifically, can any good pitcher be a closer? A few years ago, Bobby Parnell was being utilized in the seventh and eighth innings despite having “closer’s stuff,” a fastball which, at the time, sometimes surpassed 100 mph. But Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen implied, at the time, that Parnell maybe didn’t have the fortitude to be out there in the ninth inning of a close game. But pitching is pitching, and the idea is to get outs, whether it’s the seventh inning or the ninth inning. Parnell eventually was deemed emotionally and mentally fit to be the game-saver, and he passed the test with flying colors in 2012 and 2013 before getting hurt a year ago last week. And Carlyle, beneath the radar to be sure, pitched superbly for the Mets in 2014. In 27 appearances and 31 innings, he had a 1.41 ERA and a strikeout-walk ratio of 28-to-5. That’s not a huge sample size, but it’s not insignificant, either. The Mets will turn first to Jeurys Familia to close in Mejia’s absence, and then eventually look to Parnell by mid-season if his elbow is up to the task. They also have options like Vic Black, if he comes off the disabled list in decent shape from a shoulder issue, and strike-throwing sinkerballer Rafael Montero, who was spectacular as a starter in spring training but found no room at the inn where starting pitching slots are concerned at the major league level. But if they gave the ball to Carlyle in the ninth inning all season long, who’s to say he might not be able to produce the kind of season Jason Grilli did for the Pirates in 2013 when he was given the opportunity to close games at the age of 36 for the first time in his career? Post Views: 1,370 The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts Staff Post Latest posts by Staff Post (see all) In The Zone Announces Initial Podcast Lineup - November 13, 2020 The Essential Resources You Need to Start Your Own Gym in 2020 - February 6, 2020 Wilder vs Fury II – How the second fight will be different to the first? - February 5, 2020 Early turnovers, defensive struggles plague the Scarlet Knights - January 26, 2020 Related TopicsBobby ParnellBuddy CarlyleJenrry MejiaJeurys FamiliaMetsNew York Metsrafael monteroVic Black Click to comment You must be logged in to post a comment Login Leave a Reply Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment. Newsletter Subscription Can't Miss Posts! 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