I don’t know how many proverbial straws Milwaukee Brewers’ starting pitcher Manny Parra is working with, but hopefully this is his last one in Ken Macha’s eyes.
After finishing just 1.2 innings Saturday giving up six earned runs on six hits while walking three and striking out none, Parra has used just about every excuse he could possibly give for his recent struggles. He is the first pitcher in the MLB to reach eight losses and has not won a decision since May 17th.
In his last five starts, Parra is 0-3 with a 13.29 ERA and has worked into the sixth inning just one time in that span.
Parra seemed to find his groove in the middle of the year as he won three straight decisions on three quality starts. However, Parra has been downright terrible ever since and there seems to be no end in sight.
It was fitting the opposing starter in today’s game, Jose Contreras, was also struggling at the beginning of the year before being demoted to AAA for a month. Since he rejoined the White Sox, he has pitched 16 straight shutout innings and won both of his contests.
It seems about time the Brewers do the same with Parra who needs desperately to find his command if he is ever going to succeed in the majors.
One of the reasons the Brewers have been so hesitant to move Parra down is because they feel they do not have a better or more reasonable replacement for the 27-year-old left hander.
While general manager Doug Melvin has shot down any rumors that he is talking to team’s about potential deals for a front-line pitcher in exchange for J.J. Hardy or Corey Hart, many believe he is indeed doing so.
In house, the Brewers have a couple potential options they can use if Parra were to be sent down to the minors. The most realistic possibility is relief pitcher Seth McClung moving into the rotation.
Last year, McClung started 12 games for the Brew Crew going 4-4 with a 4.24 ERA. While his numbers were better as a reliever last year and he is enjoying one of his best seasons as a pitcher, his name might be called to the rotation soon.
The next option would be Mark DiFelice who has never started a game in his major league career. He is capable of going multiple innings in relief appearances and, if he prepared for it, could probably convert to a half decent starter.
Recent call-up Chris Smith is in the same boat as DiFelice in that he has never started a game, but would be capable of pitching good innings. Mike Burns was also called up for a couple weeks ago and made good appearances, once after Parra exited a game.
Smith and Burns would more than likely be short-term solutions, but both would be better options than the struggling Parra.
There is currently no one in AAA Nashville that would be a logical choice to come up to The Show, 26-year-old right hander Tim Dillard would be the best option. Currently 7-3 with a 4.23 ERA, he has handled the starter’s role before and would give the Brewers good innings, something they desperately need.
Parra may stay in the rotation and try to work out his kinks on the run, but the Brewers are really starting to play with fire by sending him out every fifth day. It is killing the bullpen and taking the Brewers out of ballgames. Their offense is good, but not that good.