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Shipping out of Boston?

That’s it; I’ve just about had it with Jonathan Papelbon and his miserably pitched ninth innings this season. Not only has Mr. Cinco-Ocho—as his ego calls himself—given myself and I’m sure other Sox fans near heart-attacks, due to his lack of wowing hitters in the ninth inning, either in save or non-save situations, but it also seems like Papelbon hasn’t given the Red Sox his all either—judging by his sleep session going on in the bullpen against the Yankees. I don’t know if I buy the whole food poisoning thing, but I’ll give you this one, Pap. I mean, for a guy who won his arbitration and landed $6.25 million for the 2009 season, he hasn’t been the same at all in my opinion, and shouldn’t be considered for more money and a longer contract in 2010.

Papelbon has been a complete nuisance over the last two years and has thrown more pitches and less variety of pitches as his appearances continue to pile up. He has one pitch, a fastball, and granted, he can probably blow the ball by the bottom half of certain major league line-ups, but it’s not a secret anymore. The scouting report reads something like an old Charles Dickens novel, plain, straight to the point and over read. Sure, I’m a bit harsh on Pap, but I’m beginning to think that he believes he’s untouchable. Sure, judging by his stats, maybe it still seems like he is one of the top closers in the game, but I’m just not convinced.

He’s only in his fourth year as a closer and he’s blown 17 saves overall (which isn’t much), including two this year, and that number should practically be doubled by the number of pitches and walks that he has allowed this year (4.1 walks per 9 innings). Maybe his numbers are bad because only till recently he has decided to throw his slider and splitter again, and maybe that is why he has thrown over 20 pitches in 12 appearances and over 30 pitches four times this year, leading to the serious increase in walks and WHIP. Sure, the guy throws 95 mph, and in recent years he could just throw the ball down the middle of the plate, but I knew that wasn’t going to last forever. It just couldn’t.

With the All-star game coming up in St. Louis this year, let me remind you about Papelbon’s little shenanigans last year when he said that he should be the one closing out the All-star game in New York, not Mariano Rivera—who by the way has blown 27 saves over a 15 year career, while compiling over 500 saves. Not that comparing Pap to Rivera is fair, but I’m just saying. Papelbon later apologized for his comments, but still, what was said was said, you can’t take it back.

Speaking of the Yankees and Rivera, maybe I should remind you of his comments about pitching “for the Yankees” next year if the Red Sox don’t want to pay him because “he has a family to take care of and he must do what’s best for his family.” Sorry, Papelbon, but as far as I’m concerned I’d rather see Josh Beckett and Jason Bay in a Sox uniform next year instead of paying you more than $6.25 million a year.

In fact, I think the Red Sox already figured out your replacement for 2010. He’s about four years younger, throws faster than you, and has a devastating curveball. Yup, you guessed it, Daniel Bard. Bard has pitched 21 innings this season, has a 2.95 ERA and has complied 23 strikeouts. Alright, so the ERA is a bit high, but he’s only had one blow up where he let up four runs. But the chance he did get to save a game at the big league level he walked one and struck out the side against Philadelphia. Not bad for a kid. I wouldn’t mind giving him a shot to close, considering this kid can hit triple digits on the gun and is a strikeout machine. Sure, Bard may not have enough experience in the closing role, but neither did Papelbon, who was a starter in the minors until he ventured up to the show.

I’m not saying I hate Papelbon—though it may sound that way—I’m just saying I’m sick of his antics, it’s getting a bit old. Its fine when you’re performing at a top level, but when you’re throwing more pitches and being completely inconsistent on a night-to-night basis with a two run lead, the antics just aren’t funny anymore, let alone worth watching. All I’m saying is maybe it’s time to let Papelbon go on down the road, letting him pursue his career and other aspirations that may end in getting him paid millions of dollars.

Seriously though, as a Red Sox fan I’m just concerned for something that has been such an important part of our World Series runs the last few years. Have I just gotten used to Papelbon’s dominance and am worrying about nothing, or am I just looking out for the present as well as the future of the Sox. Maybe it’s because I’m from Boston, and Boston fans expect the best out of their players every time they take the field. Either way, I don’t want to take anything away from what Papelbon has done in Boston, but just purely want to get to the bottom of Papelbon’s recent blunders.



  1. I came about 3 lines short of writing this same post after Wednesday night's game! haha

  2. I agree with you, if Pap doesn't make a great improvement during the 2nd half then give him a sizeable pay cut not a raise, we've got young guns just waiting for their chance.