Results tagged ‘ Jonathan Papelbon ’

The Hottest Hitter Is …

The Phillies had opportunities to score last night, but couldn’t come through in a 5-2 loss to the Mets.

The Phillies have scored two or fewer runs in four of their seven games.

You can make the argument right now that Freddy Galvis is the team’s hottest hitter. Since he started his career 0-for-12, he is hitting .416 (5-for-12) with two doubles, one home run and five RBIs. Hunter Pence is hitting .421 (8-for-19) with two doubles, one home run and three RBIs in his last five games. Jimmy Rollins is hitting .471 (8-for-17) with one double and one RBI. Galvis has more RBIs than Pence and more extra-base hits than Rollins.

The Phillies’ 2.86 runs per game average is 28th in baseball. Their 13 extra-base hits are 29th. Their .633 OPS is 24th.

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Jonathan Papelbon said he is going to choose a different song every time he enters the game at Citizens Bank Park. He entered to Alice in Chains’ “Man in the Box” in a non-save situation Monday. He entered to Marilyn Manson’s “Antichrist Superstar” in a save situation Thursday. Papelbon is trending toward scarier and scarier music. Hide your children!

Galvis, Jim Thome and Ty Wigginton still have not requested any walk-up music, but a couple players already have changed their tunes. John Mayberry Jr. chose “Cashin’ Out” by Cash Out. Laynce Nix dropped Avicii for “Gotta Have It” by Jay-Z and Kanye West. Brian Schneider has “Bangarang” by Skrillex and “Knock Knock” by Mac Miller.

I’m entering the press box these days to Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street.” It’s the hardest rocking song any of the beat writers have chosen.

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here. Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.
  • April 29: Citizens Bank Park, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
  • May 10: Tredyfrrin Public Library in Stafford, PA, 7:30 p.m.
  • June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

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Phillies Are .500!

Ah, one more win and the Phillies will have a winning record for the first time since April 5.

Just a little sarcasm to start the morning.

(Actually, I just really wanted to put a link to that Simpsons clip.)

The Phillies scored enough runs to win last night, but they have scored three or fewer runs in four of their first six games. So they are not out of the woods yet, but it certainly helps Phillies starters have a 1.60 ERA through six games. Joe Blanton was impressive last night, allowing three hits and one run in seven innings. The Phillies are 13-3 in Blanton’s last 16 regular-season starts at Citizens Bank Park, although he has a 4.29 ERA.

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Use Pap or Not?

I have received lots of questions about Jonathan Papelbon since yesterday’s 5-4 loss to Pittsburgh.

The Phillies lost two consecutive games on walk-offs, and the Phillies did not use Papelbon either time. Fans want to know why the Phillies didn’t use him. The reason is simple: managers do not like to use their closer in tie games on the road. Charlie Manuel doesn’t. Larry Bowa didn’t. Honestly, if you can find a manager that regularly uses his closer in tie games on the road please let me know. I know that answer isn’t going to be satisfactory for many, but managers want their closer pitching in save situations. Use your closer in a tie game one night then maybe he’s not available the next night when you have a save situation. Think about it that way, too. You can’t pitch the guy every day.

Now, Rich Dubee said he thought about having Papelbon pitch in Saturday’s game, but only because he didn’t want Papelbon warming up several times during the night (think about what happened to Brad Lidge in the 2008 All-Star Game … not good).

“How many times am I going to crank Pap up?” Dubee said.

But why didn’t the Phillies use Papelbon with two outs in the eighth inning yesterday? The Phillies had a one-run lead, so it was a save situation. Papelbon has pitched more than an inning in a save situation 39 times in his career. He has pitched one or fewer innings in a save situation 210 times.

He is 2-1 with a 2.09 ERA and 31 saves (79.5 percent) when he pitches more than an inning.

He is 2-11 with a 2.52 ERA and 189 saves (90 percent) when he pitches one or fewer innings.

“It’s a little early,” Dubee said. “You want me to run him out there 162 games? It’s hard. You’ve got nobody else to close the game. If you had somebody with experience closing the game, if you had (Jose) Contreras, then you might think about doing it.”

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.
  • May 10: Tredyfrrin Public Library in Stafford, PA, 7:30 p.m.

Check out my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter.

Opening Day Thoughts

Like the crane kick from Ty Wigginton.

A few thoughts on Opening Day:

  • Roy Halladay dominated as usual. He allowed two hits and struck out five in eight scoreless innings. Much has been made about his 5.73 ERA this spring — he hadn’t had worse than a 4.00 ERA in his previous six springs — but I think a few things went into that. First, this team has enough concerns with its offense (i.e. injuries to Ryan Howard and Chase Utley). An injury or slippage from one of the Big Three could be catastrophic and had fans wearing the worst. Second, there already was last month’s report that Halladay isn’t throwing as hard or looking as sharp. Third, Halladay acknowledged his right arm has a lot of miles on it. That is something everybody knows, but I think it hit some people that, “Hey, this guy isn’t going to pitch forever. Is he winding down earlier than we thought?” Halladay’s fastball averaged 90.16 mph yesterday, according to pitch f/x data. It topped out at 90.9. Last year his fastball averaged 91.3 mph. What do we make of this? He isn’t throwing as hard, but it’s just one start and it’s early in the season (obviously). But hitting is timing and pitching is upsetting timing. Halladay is a master on the mound because he changes speeds and has pinpoint control of his pitches. Losing a little on his fastball shouldn’t make him Adam Eaton. (God forbid). And I believe in a player’s track record. Until Halladay shows he isn’t one of the best pitchers in baseball — if not the best — I will continue to expect him to be one of the best pitchers in baseball. I’m sure the Pirates thought he was yesterday.
  • The offense didn’t alleviate any of its concerns, but it’s one game.
  • Charlie Manuel started John Mayberry Jr. in left field, in part because he wanted the righty-lefty matchup against Pirates left-hander Erik Bedard, but also because he wanted to show a little faith in Mayberry. Mayberry, who had a bad spring, rewarded him, going 2-for-4 with a double and making a couple nice catches in left field. Mayberry is this lineup’s wild card. If he can continue last season’s success it would be a huge boost to the offense while Howard and Utley are out.
  • Freddy Galvis bounced into a couple double plays in his first two at-bats, but he looked good in the field. That’s why the Phillies have him. He can play defense, which is what you want with Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.
  • Jonathan Papelbon showed us Cinco Ocho for the first time.

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.
  • May 10: Tredyfrrin Public Library in Stafford, PA, 7:30 p.m.

Check out my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter.

Papelbon Talks More Phillies Fans vs. Red Sox Fans

Jonathan Papelbon chilled in left field with some of his former Red Sox teammates during BP today at Bright House Field.

He is getting used to his new surroundings, but he certainly endeared himself to Phillies fans earlier this month, when he told WIP (610 AM) that Phillies fans are smarter than Red Sox fans.

“The difference between Boston and Philadelphia, the Boston fans are a little bit more hysterical when it comes to the game of baseball,’’ Papelbon told WIP. “The Philly fans tend to know the game a little better, being in the National League, you know, the way the game is played. I’ve had a guy take off his prosthetic leg and throw it in the bullpen in Boston.’’

Papelbon explained himself further today.

“Obviously, I wasn’t trying to offend nobody, man,” he said. “I was just calling a spade a spade. I’ve been in the bullpen down there many times in Boston and this guy doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about. It happens in Philadelphia, too. I’ve been in the Philadelphia, but I was simply saying because the American League is different than the National League, there’s a little bit more thought process that goes along with that.”

So he wasn’t taking a shot at Boston fans?

“No,” he said. “I knew it was going to be read that way. But that’s the thing: I don’t really care. The fans that know me in Boston … it’s kind of irrelevant. But I’m not going to throw shots at Boston fans, no. They’ve been there for me for so many years. I was just making a statement National League vs. American League, you know? Bunting and all that. I can’t remember us bunting three times.”

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 2: Barnes & Noble in Plymouth Meeting, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 3: Chester County Book Company in West Chester, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.

Season Over: Madson Needs Tommy John

Wow.

Mark Sheldon covers the Reds for MLB.com. He just reported Ryan Madson needs Tommy John surgery:

The ligament in his elbow is torn off the bone and he will need Tommy John surgery that will end his season before it begins. Madson was examined this morning in Cincinnati by team medical director Dr. Tim Kremcheck.

The Reds did not take an insurance policy on Madson’s one-year, $8.5 million contract because it was a one-year deal and the club policy is not to do insurance on one-year deals.

A couple thoughts from the press box at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers:

Can you imagine if the Phillies had signed Madson to a four-year, $44 million contract, considering the injuries to Ryan Howard and Chase Utley?

Panic!

Can you imagine if the Phillies had resigned Madson and not resigned Jimmy Rollins? The Phillies would be without a closer, first baseman, second baseman and have Freddy Galvis playing shortstop.

You have to feel bad for Madson. He took a big risk signing a one-year contract with Reds, which means he will not sign that lucrative deal following the season.

It might never come now. You never know.

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 2: Barnes & Noble in Plymouth Meeting, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 3: Chester County Book Company in West Chester, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.

The Number Shuffle

If you have any interest about the numbers on the back of the Phillies’ uniforms …

We know Jonathan Papelbon‘s alter ego “Cinco Ocho” is based on the No. 58 on the back of his jersey.

But when he came to Philadelphia he knew Antonio Bastardo had the number. No big deal. Papelbon and Bastardo have the same agents, so Bastardo had no problem handing his number to the Phillies’ new closer. (Papelbon gave Bastardo a Rolex for the effort.) Of course, then Bastardo needed a new number. Phillies director of team travel and clubhouse services Frank Coppenbarger gave Bastardo a few options, and Bastardo finally settled on No. 37.

Now, Justin De Fratus wore No. 37 the final couple weeks of the 2011 season. But that’s not enough service time to keep it, so he handed the number to Bastardo. Not that he minded. Because when Coppenbarger started to rattle off a few numbers for De Fratus, he blurted out, “How about 79?”

“Are you serious?” Coppenbarger said.

“Yeah,” De Fratus replied. “I wore it in the (Arizona) Fall League (in 2010).”

Coppenbarger said he had no problem with that. In fact, he liked it because De Fratus will never have to worry about any player asking him for his number ever again. But he also made sure De Fratus really wanted it. Coppenbarger said, “Hey, if you pick this you’ve got to stick with it. If your teammates start giving you a hard time you can’t start switching around.” De Fratus said he wanted it.

So he’s got it.

And that’s how Papelbon got 58, Bastardo got 37 and De Fratus got 79.

“I wore it in the Fall League and I had a good Fall League,” De Fratus said. “So why not?”

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From Sunday in Clearwater:

Cinco Ocho’s Intro Music? It’s A Secret

Greetings from Clearwater.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know I have an unhealthy obsession with players’ intro music. And no intro music is bigger than a closer’s intro music. So after Jonathan Papelbon‘s news conference ended this afternoon and after he finished a couple TV interviews, I asked him if he had chosen his song. Papelbon had the Dropkick Murphys I’m Shipping Up to Boston while he closed for the Red Sox, but that won’t work in Philadelphia for obvious reasons.

So?

“I’ve got one,” he said.

And?

“I cannot share it,” he said. “That stuff is top secret, man.”

Papelbon said it’s a hard rock song, one he planned to use in Boston before he got asked to use I’m Shipping Up to Boston.

“That’s about as much as I can give you,” he said.

He said it’s not Philly related like I’m Shipping Up to Boston is Boston related. But then there really aren’t any popular Philly-type songs like that, are there? The Rocky theme song is played so much it just wouldn’t work. I mentioned Eye of the Tiger, which is kind of Philly related, and Papelbon said, “I feel like that might be a little bit too corny.”

So I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Reds Get Madson

Ryan Madson wants to be a closer, so while the Phillies would have loved to have had him in their 2012 bullpen as a setup man, he is headed to Cincinnati on a one-year, $8.5 million contract.

I never would have predicted that in November.

Back in November it appeared the Phillies and Madson were close to a four-year, $44 million extension. But the negotiations hit a snag (one side said they had a verbal agreement, the other side said they didn’t) and the Phillies decided to spend $6 million more to sign Jonathan Papelbon. Meanwhile, the closing opportunities for Madson dried up and instead of getting the monster pay day he hoped, he has to pitch in Cincinnati for one season before hitting the market again. That’s not exactly how Scott Boras planned it, but that’s the situation.

It will be a strange spring training without Madson and possibly Brad Lidge in the clubhouse. They were the final two pieces of the 2008 World Series bullpen. But there is still a chance Lidge is back. He remains unsigned, and the longer he is out there I think the chances improve the Phillies could sign him to a Minor League deal. Read Paul Hagen‘s story on Lidge here.

Hagen recently joined MLB.com after leaving the Daily News. He is an awesome addition to our staff. Hagen will be writing plenty of national stories, but he’ll get a chance to write his share of Phillies stories, too. That’s great for everybody. I actually meant to post this back in December, but … welcome aboard, Paul. Thrilled to have you on the team.

Rollins Is A Happy Man

I talked on the phone a few minutes ago with Jimmy Rollins. Here is what he said about his three-year, $33 million contract with the Phillies, a lengthy negotiation process and more:

QUESTION: Are you happy this is finally over?
ROLLINS: Yes, I’m glad that it’s over. It’s good that it’s over for both parties. It’s an issue that’s been going on. Negotiations take time and both parties usually get a good idea where a finish line can be. It usually takes time to get there, but we got there.

QUESTION: Are you happy with the deal? You had asked for five years, and I also had heard you were unhappy with the pace of the negotiations.
ROLLINS: I never said that or even hinted toward that in any way. No, it’s not true. I wasn’t upset at the pace. I was glad it took a while because both sides were showing that they care. This is a business. There is a sports side of it and a business side of it, and the business side of it is always the most difficult part. Making sure that the numbers fit and the years fit and that both parties can be happy going forward is how business is. This is where we both sit and both parties feel comfortable going forward.

QUESTION: Do you feel you met the Phillies half way? You wanted five. They wanted three. But it sounds like the vesting option for the fourth year is easily attainable.
ROLLINS: That’s very accurate. The tough part is you’ve got to stick to your guns and they’ve got to stick to their guns. You negotiate. If I hadn’t started so high then we probably would have been looking at a two-year deal with a vesting option for three. People that understand business, they get it.

QUESTION: As long as you’re healthy you feel you will get that option?
ROLLINS: Exactly.

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