Manny Parra has had 5 starts since returning from his minor league demotion, and his latest may have been his most impressive. Parra worked into the 9th inning with remarkable efficiency against the Los Angeles Dodgers, one of the most potent offenses in the majors this year.
Parra ended up surrendering four earned runs in 8+ innings, but the last two were surrendered by Trevor Hoffman, who came in to relieve Parra with no outs in the 9th.
It was the most promising start Parra’s had this season, and he’s now 3-0 since returning, posting a 3.94 ERA. Much better than the 3-8 record with a 7.52 ERA he had before he was sent to Nashville, isn’t it? Much of Parra’s recent success has come with Mike Rivera catching, not Jason Kendall.
Kendall’s generally regarded as the better defensive catcher, but Parra seems more comfortable on the mound with Rivera behind the plate. That’s probably no surprise considering the time the two spent together the first time Parra passed through Triple A, with Rivera even catching Parra’s perfect game in Nashville. Parra and Rivera also seem to be more on the same page when it comes to what makes the lefty comfortable — upon his demotion, Parra acknowledged that he was throwing too many off-speed pitches instead of sticking to what gave him so much success, namely throwing a lot of mid-90s fastballs.
Since coming back up and working with Rivera, Parra’s depended on his curveball less, worked faster, and has shut down some pretty good offenses. So is this just a mirage, or the start of something a bit more permanent? Could Parra possibly step up and play to that #2/#3 starter potential that so many saw in him as he rose through the minors and battled through injury setbacks? If he can, perhaps the Brewers aren’t in as much trouble with their rotation as many originally thought.