Saturday, May 23, 2009

You Don't Get Beat By a Journeyman Backup Catcher. Ever.

Until tonight.

Omir Santos hit the first pitch he saw off Jonathan Papelbon for a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth, and the Mets held on in the bottom of the inning for a 3-2 win. At first the ball was not ruled a home run, but the replay rule (the first time ever used at Fenway) confirmed it did indeed clear the wall.

Papelbon has rapidly turned into a "heart attack closer." And it's worrying me.

The Sox hit the crap off J.J. Putz in the bottom of the ninth (where was Francisco Rodriguez?) but bullets right at fielders and wound up losing. Josh Beckett pitched perhaps his best game of the year, giving up an unearned run in the first and went eight strong innings. (And what in the name of God was he doing chasing that Gary Sheffield pop up that fell in foul? And why didn't he at least try to catch it if he was there?)

It was Papelbon's first blown save of the year. You knew it would happen sooner or later. But to a backup catcher? Jeez. But we also had yet another lousy night from David Ortiz. Two more strikeouts. He's looking like he's returned to that season-long slump, and the home run he hit Wednesday almost seems like a fluke. (I really can't believe I just wrote that.)

The Sox now have to seriously consider moving him down in the lineup. He's just killing way to many scoring opportunities. I've been among Papi's biggest defenders, but now it's becoming too obvious.

And very sad as well.

Tim Wakefield takes the mound on Sunday to avoid a sweep.


Michael Macomber said...

Just a nit-picking point here, but, your categorization of a Papelbon as a "heart-attack" closer does little to effect the results, it only makes it uncomfortable for us fans. (The only problem I see is that his Base-on-balls are up dramatically.)

It reminds me of Sox fans who can't stand Wakefield (I'm not suggesting you are part of this group). You can perform an experiment: all you have to do is show Wake's pitching line without his name attached and everyone would agree that he is a solid back of the rotation pitcher, or better, depending on the year, but...tell any Sox fan Wake is pitching and most won't even watch.

Just cause it ain't pretty doesn't mean its not effective.

The Omnipotent Q said...

I love Papelbon, Michael, and want him to have the ball in the ninth. He's only had one blown save and his season has still been very good. But he's walking too many hitters, and making us fans squirm a bit too much.