Results tagged ‘ Jonathan Papelbon ’
Jonathan Papelbon’s fastball never hit more than 91 mph in the ninth inning today at Wrigley Field, but he threw a clean inning to pick up his first save of the season and bury the nightmare of Wednesday’s blown save in Texas.
“This is what I chose to do,” he said following the 2-0 victory over the Cubs. “I take the ups with the downs. For some reason I enjoy it. I don’t know why. It’s a roller coaster ride. I liked Space Mountain as a kid, you know what I’m saying?”
Ryne Sandberg said Wednesday that Papelbon needed to mix his pitches better, which he said was addressed in between appearances. He said he noticed some improvement today.
It will be important moving forward. In the past, Papelbon could rear back and blow a 95 mph fastball past hitters.
“I think I need to do more pitching,” Papelbon acknowledged. “If that’s what that means, yeah. The longer and longer I pitch I think the more and more I learn, so sometimes I need to be a pitcher more than a thrower. I get into that mode sometimes, just going out there and throw by guys or throw a pitch without a certain intent.
“You know, as the season goes on, hopefully my velo will be able to increase. I think everybody usually hits their peak around June. But right now I’m going to focus on just pitching.”
Jonathan Papelbon spoke with reporters this afternoon at Bright House Field, and he had plenty to say about leadership, positivity, negativity and his performance on the field.
Much of the conversation centered on his attitude and influence in the clubhouse. It is no secret he wasn’t a happy man last season (examples HERE and HERE). He also didn’t dominate the ninth inning like he had in the past. A combination of those things are why the Phillies actively tried to trade him, not only before the July 31 Trade Deadline, but during the offseason. The Phillies simply felt he no longer fit into their clubhouse. But finding no takers for the $50 million closer, Papelbon returned to camp saying he plans to be a more positive influence in 2014.
Of course, he said similar things in Spring Training 2013, so we will see.
Here are some highlights from his meeting with reporters:
Q: Can you talk about the start of another spring training? Is your attitude different?
A: This year, I’m definitely trying to be a lot more of a positive influence and be more upbeat. It starts from Ryno. It starts from our manager in encouraging us to stay positive and be upbeat even though the last two seasons didn’t go as expected for myself and the rest of the guys in that clubhouse. This spring training is a big, big difference, just in the first few days. There is a lot more upbeat positivity. It’s night and day, it really is.
Q: Is it a reflection of Ryne Sandberg?
A: Every morning we have a meeting and Ryno. He talks about energy and spark. Bringing it every day. Last year and the year previous, we didn’t have that. We were losing games and I feel like we let losing get to the best of us. I let it get to me just as much as anybody. That’s a tough thing to do. As an athlete, we come out here and prepare and put so much hard work into it. When it doesn’t pay off, it’s a hard thing to deal with.
Q: Were you not a positive influence last year?
A: I’m just speaking for myself and nobody else. At times, when you lose 12 games in a row and you’re in Detroit and you say you didn’t come here for this, that gets spinned in a couple of directions. For me, I didn’t come here to lose. I came here to win. I came here to win a world championship. I don’t take losing very well. The one thing I can say that does upset me is a lot of you guys here — not pointing anyone out — took that as I’m a bad teammate, which is definitely not true. I’d break my back for my teammates. I’d do anything. They’re my brothers. I’m with them more than my family. If you could ask all 25 guys in there, I live and die for my teammates.
They paid Jonathan Papelbon $50 million to do that job.
He nearly blew a four-run lead last night in a 5-4 victory over the Braves at Turner Field.
Anybody can have a bad night and Papelbon hung his night on a hanging breaking ball to Braves right fielder Justin Upton, who hit a three-run home run. But there are reasons to be concerned about their high-priced closer. Papelbon, who is owed $26 million over the next two seasons, has blown seven of 36 saves this year. His 80.6 save completion percentage ranks 27th out of 30 pitchers with 20 or more save opportunities. His once intimidating fastball has averaged just 92.1 mph, 1.7 mph less than last season and 2.7 mph less than his final season with the Red Sox in 2012.
A surly Papelbon sat in a far corner of the Phillies clubhouse afterward, carrying a blank look on his face and insisting he is not worried about any of this.
“I guess if you guys think I’m not throwing hard enough,” he said, when asked if he thinks his velocity can come back next season. “I don’t know, maybe. Maybe it will. I don’t know. I don’t think think (velocity) really matters in this game. It’s velocity at the plate, life at the plate. It’s not how hard it comes out of your hand. It’s what it does near the plate.”
But Papelbon is striking out only 8.3 batters per nine innings this season, which is the lowest mark of his career. He averaged 10.0 or more strikeouts per nine innings over each of the previous six seasons. In the past, when he allowed a couple infield hits like he did last night, he could get a big strikeout to get himself out of trouble. But that is happening less and less frequently this season.
Papelbon had a hip issue earlier this season, but he downplayed its effect then and he downplayed it again last night. But Ryne Sandberg said it is something Papelbon has been working on, and he said hopefully when his closer is healthy he can starting throwing fastballs back in the 93-94 mph range.
Asked if Papelbon can be a shutdown closer if he is throwing in the 91-92 mph range, Sandberg said, “Well, he’s our guy right now for that. I see him getting some rest and getting back to throwing 94. I think that’s what he needs.”
The Phillies are more than willing to trade Papelbon in the offseason, but they might have trouble finding takers. They had virtually no interest in him before the July 31 Trade Deadline because he is owed not only $26 million over the next two seasons, but potentially $13 million more in 2016 based on a club option.
Papelbon was very critical of the team in July, saying changes needed to be made from top to bottom to improve. Asked again last night where he thinks this team is headed, he said, “We’re headed to go play golf.”
His former team won the American League East this season after losing 93 games last year. Maybe it could happen to the Phillies in 2014.
“Sure, but you saw what they did over there,” he said.
The Red Sox cleaned house.
Is Papelbon happy in Philadelphia? It is hard to tell.
“Yeah, I mean, I’m happy to be in a uniform, playing baseball,” he said. “But it’s not fun to lose though.”
He got booed pretty good coming off the field.
It’s partly because of his performance last night, partly because of his performance the past few weeks and partly because of the comments he made Sunday to MLB.com. Papelbon spoke for nearly eight minutes with reporters in the Phillies’ clubhouse afterward. Here are the highlights:
You have blown six saves. Do you have to look at yourself and figure out if something isn’t clicking?
No. Not me. I think my ball has life at the plate, which is all I really care about it. If I’m getting hit all over the ballpark with hard hit balls, I have to reassess, but after a night like tonight you just kind of chalk it up to that’s that. I felt like, honestly, I felt all of my pitches were working. I felt good. I felt strong. It was just one of those nights.
You were really hearing it from the fans, stemming from the comments you made Sunday. Do you those comments need clarity?
I think they speak for themselves. Whether I blow a game or whether I save a game, whatever is happening within the organization, I feel like I’m honest and forthcoming and I’m the same way after games like tonight. I accept things. I don’t shy away from things. That’s just the way I approach it and that’s just the way I go to work on a daily basis. I feel like that’s the best way to go about a day’s work is to just be honest with yourself and be honest with the position you’re in and not try to sugarcoat anything or trying to see something for what it’s not. That’s the way I’ve always been. I go by facts and I stand by what I say. I don’t feel like I said anything that was untrue.
Cole said he didn’t sign to lose, either. Did you get feedback from teammates? Did they say, I’m glad you said that?
No. What I say and what I do is based on seeing yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and if you’re working hard and if you’re not working hard and being real and not sugarcoating anything, I don’t think. This is the big leagues, this isn’t coach’s pitch. At the end of the day not everyone gets a trophy. You have to look yourself in the mirror and examine yourself if you’re consistently not getting the job done. You make adjustments, it’s a game of adjustments unless you don’t got to make any. It’s pretty simple, really.
Did you need to make any adjustments?
I think for me this year it’s been a constant adjustment on how to figure out how to go without pitching or pitching in tie ballgames a lot. I think for me more than anything there have been some situations that have come up that have been fairly new for me. I think for me I just try to go out there one day at a time to see how I can get better each day and not necessarily worry about struggling and whatnot.
Your strikeout numbers are down this year. (He averaged 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings from 2010-12, but is averaging just 7.78 this season.) Is there an explanation?
I think every year is different. Like I said earlier, if I was giving up a lot of home runs or giving up lots of doubles and stuff like that, I would start to make adjustments. But after tonight I just chalk it up to that’s baseball.
What about your velocity being down? (His fastball has dipped from 94.8 mph in 2011 to 93.8 mph in 2012 to 92.2 mph this season.)
I’m not going out there and trying to blow anybody away. I’m trying to get outs. That’s basically what it boils down to.
Did you talk to Ruben or Charlie about comments?
I don’t think there is anything to really hash out. Facts are facts and when you look in the mirror at the end of the day, you have to be honest with yourself.
The Phillies didn’t need to say much in the visitors clubhouse following today’s 12-4 loss to the Tigers.
A few just offered a look.
It’s that look when the eyes open wide for a split second like, “Wow, can you believe that just happened?”
It did. The Phillies went 1-8 on the road against the Mets, Cardinals and Tigers. Their eight-game losing streak is their longest since an eight-game skid in Sept. 2011. It is their worst road trip of nine or more games since July 28-Aug. 6, 1995, when they went 1-8 against the Cubs, Braves and Reds.
“I’ve seen a lot, but I haven’t seen that,” said Jimmy Rollins, who has been with the team since 2000. “That was embarrassing. … If there’s a bottom, this has to be it. I can’t imagine things getting worse than they have this past week, culminating the way they did today.”
Rollins also offered his reasons for optimism. Read the above link for that. But Jonathan Papelbon isn’t nearly as cheery. He spoke a couple times yesterday, expressing his frustrations about the losing and the organization. He said if things don’t improve changes need to be made from top to bottom. I asked if Papelbon wants to be traded. He said no, he wants to remain in Philadelphia. But then he said if things continue this way, he doesn’t want to stick around. He said who would? You wonder what is going to happen there. I think both parties would welcome a trade, but it’s easier said than done. There doesn’t appear to be much of a market for Papelbon, and that could become a problem if the team keeps losing.
Michael Young said he hasn’t heard anything yet about a potential trade. And even though Rollins hasn’t been rumored to be traded, he said he would reject any proposals for now.
It was an interesting trip at the very least. It is hard to imagine the Phillies buying in any true capacity before Wednesday’s 4 p.m. deadline (i.e. giving up a top prospect to fill a void in the bullpen or outfield). It wouldn’t make much sense. But I’m just not sure who they can trade to retool for the future. I’m not sure how much value Young has. It sounds like Chase Utley isn’t going anywhere. And while the Phillies would trade Cliff Lee, I wonder what they can get in return. They already traded him once and didn’t get much back.
Papelbon mentioned the Red Sox from 2011. Theo Epstein and Terry Francona both left the organization following a 7-20 finish. They also ditched players like Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Papelbon. The Red Sox struggled last season, but they are now first in the American League East with the second-best record in baseball. Ruben Amaro Jr. has his work cut out for him, but if he can make the right moves the Phillies could bounce back relatively quickly. But that’s easier said than done, and the last couple years nothing has been easy.
But the situation remains fluid.
“No one is running away with it,” Amaro said of the National League East and Wild Card races. “No one is invincible.”
The Phillies last season stood at 37-50 at the All-Star break, 10 games behind the Wild Card leaders and 14 games behind the Nationals in the division. They entered Thursday’s series finale against the Nationals 45-47, 6 ½ games behind the Wild Card leaders and 7 ½ games behind the Braves in the division. The All-Star break begins following Sunday’s game against the White Sox.
“I actually considered us less of a contender last year than we are now,” Amaro said. “Weren’t we 10, 11 games under .500 last year?”
Fourteen at one point, actually.
“I think if we were 14 we’d be doing the same thing we did last year,” he said.
At least two bombs exploded at the end of the Boston Marathon with multiple deaths and injuries reported.
Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon played seven seasons with the Red Sox and lived above the popular steakhouse Abe and Louie’s, where one of the explosions detonated. He carried a blank look on his face as he shared his thoughts before a game against the Reds.
“It’s sad, man,” he said. “Patriot’s Day is a big thing in Boston. Sox play at 11 o’clock. It’s all ruined. Families are ruined, lives are ruined. For what? It’s just sad.
“I’m looking at it right now and I’m like, damn, I used to live right there.”
Papelbon said he has tried to contact people in Boston, but has had no luck.
“It’s kind of surreal,” he said. “I don’t know man, it’s crazy. It’s hard to even think about. … Hopefully the city can rally and make things better, but it’s going to be tough.”
The Phillies host the Dominican Republic at 1:05 p.m. today at Bright House Field.
Here is the Phillies’ lineup:
- Ender Inciarte, CF
- Kevin Frandsen, 2B
- Domonic Brown, RF
- Ryan Howard, 1B
- Darin Ruf, LF
- Laynce Nix, DH
- Cody Asche, 3B
- Erik Kratz, C
- Freddy Galvis, SS
Jonathan Papelbon had been scheduled to pitch today, but he has been scratched because he is ill.
The Phillies have to loan five pitchers to the Dominican Republic for today’s game. One is in big-league camp: left-hander Mauricio Robles. The other four are in minor league camp: right-hander Juan Sosa, left-hander Tom Cochran, right-hander Michael Cisco and right-hander Edgar Garcia.
Jonathan Papelbon made a few comments about a lack of leadership this week and everybody outside the Phillies clubhouse wanted details.
What the heck is happening in Clearwater?
Truth be told, Papelbon’s comments barely made a ripple in camp because he essentially said what everybody already knew: they lost a lot of their leadership because of injuries. You lose Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay and that is going to hurt. You know what else hurt? All of the other injuries. That is why Jimmy Rollins said he agreed with Papelbon’s assessment. It is also why he said it’s nothing to take offense to.
But to give you a peek at reality, it was interesting (and a little surreal) to watch ESPN’s SportsCenter cover the story this morning. (Note: This isn’t about ESPN, just about perceptions of what’s happening from the outside.) Papelbon’s image flashed on screen and Phillies players quieted down to watch and listen. They heard Papelbon discuss his comments on camera, and Phillies manager Charlie Manuel followed with his own thoughts on camera. It all seemed very serious, like there is a real controversy brewing here. Then ESPN showed a quote from Rollins, which was read by SportsCenter host Stan Verrett. The quote ended with, “The glue is back together. You can have a lead singer, but without a man playing the guitar and drums, it’s a different band.”
When Rollins made that comment to reporters yesterday it sounded perfectly fine, but with a certain amount of gravitas behind it, it sounded quite silly. And that is why every player in the clubhouse erupted in laughter when Verrett finished reading it. Rollins smiled and took a quick bow.
Controversy? Nope, not really. But it’s something fun to talk about, I suppose.
He made an interesting comment the other day to The Morning Call, when he said the Phillies lacked leadership in the clubhouse last season. He discussed that lack of leadership a little further this morning. Here is what he said:
Q: You said this team didn’t show any leadership last season. That’s accurate?
A: I don’t say anything that’s not accurate.
Q: What does that mean?
A: I hope you guys aren’t saying it’s one particular person in general because I put myself in that category. I put myself in that category that I don’t feel like I took on certain leadership as much as I could have with the guys in the bullpen. And I intend to make that change this year. I hope that other guys on this team feel the same way as I do. Granted, we did have a lot of injuries and stuff like that. And that does affect how leadership plays a part with teams. Leadership takes the form of many different things and many different players can lead in different ways. I just don’t think there was many situations last year where guys were, either like myself on the team for the first year, guys weren’t able to be there every day because of injuries, all different sorts of things came into play. Hopefully, this year that’ll change. And I think it will.
Q: Was it a bad clubhouse last year?
A: No, no, no, no. No, not at all. It was just a clubhouse that didn’t have an identity. And a clubhouse that didn’t have leadership, I felt like. And that’s not to put the blame on any one person or any one coach. That’s just the way it was. It’s just the way things unfolded. I’ve been on plenty of teams that way. I said this, too. I was really, really happy the way the season ended and some of the leadership that started to emerge and some of the team’s identity that started to emerge. I said I believe if we can take that same team identity we had at the end of the season and carry that into the spring and carry that into the season, along with some of the leadership we had at the end of the month, guys taking charge, if we can carry that into the season – even though there was an offseason in between – just because there was an offseason it doesn’t mean that team’s identity and leadership can’t carry into the next year. Because it can. And that’s really all I meant by that.