Manny (Parra) Being Manny
Baseball fans have become accustomed to the theatrics of Manny Ramirez over the years, his antics chalked up as "Manny being Manny."
Brewer fans are also getting their own dose of Manny, except the Manny in question is Parra, not Ramirez.
It's no secret that, since being called up to the Brewers, Parra has all the tools to be a No. 1 starter. Each time Parra pitches, however, the distance between potential and reality gets further and further.
Parra picked up his first win on Wednesday night, but it wasn't a victory he should be proud of. The Brewers decimated the Reds, pounding out 20 hits in a 15-3 win.
Before Parra even took the mound, he was given a 5-0 lead. By the second inning, the Brewers were up 9-0 and the outcome of the game had already been determined.
All Parra had to do was throw strikes and he would have a very nice start to show for it. But he must not have looked at the scoreboard, because he was pitching as if the outcome of the game hinged on every pitch.
Parra did toss a quality start, giving up two runs in six innings, but he is still lacking the control needed to be a top notch Major League pitcher. He walked four batters in only six innings with a 10-run lead.
At times, it appears Parra is actually scared to throw strikes.
I don't remember any successful pitcher in history that was ever scared or intimidated by the opposition. That mindset is a loser's mentality and Parra is too talented to even have those thoughts enter his head.
He entered the season with a great amount of confidence, and spoke of how last year was a learning experience for him and how he would benefit from the lessons learned.
He also credited C.C. Sabathia with helping him to become a better pitcher. Parra planted himself in Sabathia's back pocket last season, and Sabathia taught him how to use his pitches to set up hitters.
We are all still waiting for Parra to take that next step.
Parra has proven in his career that he can be a dominant pitcher, even throwing a no-hitter at the Triple-A level with the Nashville Sound.
So what more can be done? He's already had a heart-to-heart talk with Brewers manager Ken Macha, but that doesn't seem to have stuck yet.
A trip to the minors could work, but the Brewers can't afford to send one of their most talented pitchers to the minors for any length of time. Also, if Parra would struggle at Nashville, it could be devastating to his psyche.
Once off the disabled list, Mike Rivera may become Parra's regular catcher for a few starts. Rivera caught Parra's no-hitter in the minors and the two know each other quite well.
The best thing for Parra at this point is to continue to take the mound every five days for the Brewers. He needs to trust Jason Kendall and believe in what he wants him to throw.
No one doubts the physical gifts of Manny Parra. He has the capability to be as good as Yovani Gallardo has become. Parra's only flaw is between his ears.
In the end, he has no one to turn to but himself.
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