Tag:Jonathan Papelbon
Posted on: September 29, 2011 10:20 am
Edited on: September 29, 2011 11:28 am

What was best play of Games 162?


By Evan Brunell

The morning after baseball's latest contender for the most exciting final day of the regular season, we're left trying to figure out just which of the improbable, impossible events that led to a night to remember was best.

Rays coming back from 7-0? Evan Longoria whacking a three-run home run to pull the Rays within one? How about Dan Johnson, he of a .167 batting average in 260 plate appearances over the last four years jacking a game-tying home run in the ninth? What about Evan Longoria's game winner, shades of Mark McGwire's 62nd home run?

But there were plenty of other memorable plays. How about Robert Andino shocking the Sox with a game-winning single in the ninth? Or earlier in the game, when Dustin Pedroia whacked a homer to give the Sox a lead? The Phillies sending a dagger in the hearts of Braves with a Hunter Pence RBI single in the top 14th? But Craig Kimbrel, he of 40 saves on the year, had to blow the game for Pence to walk off. Similarly, Jonathan Papelbon imploded for the Red Sox, handing Baltimore the victory. The Cardinals razed their way to a 8-0 win, but how huge was St. Louis' five-run first on the strength of five run-scoring hits?

There are no shortage of amazing plays or occurrences from Wednesday night. We ask you: Which one was the best?

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Posted on: September 29, 2011 12:18 am
Edited on: September 29, 2011 2:17 am

Playoff race: Epic finish sends Rays to playoffs

Evan Longoria

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Evan Longoria's solo homer off of the Yankees' Scott Proctor capped what was perhaps the most exciting final day of the regular season in baseball history, and solidified two epic collapses by the Red Sox and the Braves.

Longoria's homer gave Tampa Bay an 8-7 victory just minutes after the Orioles' Robert Andino's liner scored the winning run in Baltimore to seal a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Red Sox. Longoria was in the on-deck circle in St. Petersburg, Fla., when the Red Sox score was announced. Just three minutes later, Longoria hit his second homer of the game.

It was just another comeback for the Rays, who were behind in the wild card race by as many as nine games and then were down 7-0 in the eighth inning of Wednesday's game against the Yankees. Tampa Bay scored six in the eighth inning, including three on Longoria's first homer of the night. Dan Johnson hit a two-out, pinch-hit homer in the ninth to tie the game.

While the Rays were within a strike of losing, the Red Sox were within a strike of winning.

Jonathan Papelbon, who had never surrendered an earned run at Camden Yards until Tuesday, struck out the first two batters he faced in the ninth inning trying to protect a 3-2 lead. But Chris Davis doubled and then Nolan Reimold hit a ground-rule double to tie the game and then Andino hit a sinking liner to left that Carl Crawford -- the former Ray -- couldn't catch, scoring Reimold.

Three minutes later, Longoria ended Boston's season, and completed the Red Sox collapse.

The Rays will now head to Texas to face the Rangers in the first round of ALDS on Friday, while the Yankees will host the Tigers.

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Posted on: September 25, 2011 11:45 pm

3 Up, 3 Down: Rockies raze Astros, Matusz bombs

Ianetta and Co.
By Evan Brunell

3 UpRockies hitters: Colorado exploded for 19 runs, led by Kevin Kouzmanoff who scorched the ball for two homers, driving in five. But there were plenty of other contributors, with seven of nine players getting at least two hits, six of them with three or more. And even Kevin Millwood got in on the fun with a home run, the second of the season. He now has a .474 slugging percentage with a .180 career mark. Ty Wigginton, Thomas Field and Jordan Pachecho each had four hits, while Chris Iannetta tied Kouz with five RBI and a three-run blast. Only the first and ninth marked scoreless innings for the Rox.

Gavin Floyd, White Sox: It was a good year for Floyd, who posted a career-low 4.37 ERA this season. The cap to his successful year came with an eight-inning, three-hit performance against the Royals. He allowed only two walks and punched out 10 over 121 pitches. The White Sox considered moving him earlier this year and if he hits the market this offseason, there should be quite a bit of interest, especially given the weak free-agent market. He ended up losing because minor-league lifer Luis Mendoza out-dueled him, but Floyd gets the up for not just the game, but his season overall.

Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox: The outcome of the game isn't why Papelbon's here. In his longest outing since May 2010 (and before that, 2006), Papelbon dominated the Yankees by throwing just 29 pitches over 2 1/3 innings, striking out four. The stumbling Red Sox seem to have everything going wrong for them, but Papelbon is the one thing going right. Get Papelbon a lead this year and he will hold it. Until giving up a run in his last relief appearance on Sept. 20, Papelbon hadn't given up a run since July 16.

3 DownAstros pitchers: The Rockies did most of their damage against the bullpen, knocking Lucas Harrell out of the game after just three innings and five runs (two unearned). Then began a procession of four pitchers, each of whom gave up at least four runs before Juan Abreu stopped the bleeding in the ninth. Rule 5 selection Aneury Rodriguez was lit up for four runs in two innings and Lance Pendleton surrendered five in his own two innings of work. Xavier Cedeno gave up five runs in the eighth after two one-out appearances marked the start of his career. Cedeno's ERA is now 27.00.

Brian Matusz, Orioles: The left-hander's season is finally over. Coming off a strong 2011, the youngster was primed to take the next step toward becoming an ace... and instead now ends 2011 with a 10.69 ERA that was actually lowered Sunday when he coughed up six runs over five innings to the Tigers, with a three-spot in the fifth as Matusz's last taste. That ERA will set a record for a pitcher with at least 40 innings, STATS LLC reports -- but he's in good company, as the previous record of 10.64 was held by Roy Halladay (2000).
"I'm going to have a lot of motivation going into this winter, because I'm never going to forget what this has felt like," Matusz told the Associated Press. "I've got a lot of mistakes to learn from." I'd say so.

Ricky Nolasco, Marlins:
Wrapping up this edition of horrible pitching performances is Nolasco, who lasted just two innings and gave up six earned runs (plus another unearned). He was ripped apart for nine hits, spiking his ERA to 4.67. Nolasco has long been a pitcher whose peripherals have portended future success, but he simply can't put it all together, and it's time to stop expecting him to. He's a fine middle-of-the-rotation starter, but that's really all he can aspire to be at this point.

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Colorado Rockies' Chris Iannetta (20) is congratulated by teammate Ty Wigginton (21) and Jordan Pacheco (58) after all three scored on his home run as Houston Astros catcher J.R. Towles (46) watches during the eighth inning of a baseball game on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011, in Houston. The Rockies defeated the Astros 19-3. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Posted on: September 21, 2011 1:13 am

3 Up, 3 Down: Papelbon falls in Sox loss

By Evan Brunell

Eric Hosmer, Royals:  Hosmer was lights out, going 5 for 5 on the night, driving in three runs and blasting his 18th home run of the season. His batting average is now a cool .300, and Hosmer seems like he should finish no lower than second in Rookie of the Year voting. Jeremy Hellickson likely has the award sewn up, but it's been a great year for Hosmer, whose five-night night was the first since Billy Butler accomplished the feat in July 2009.

Mat Latos, Padres:  Latos pitched his best start of the year on Tuesday, coughing up just one run in 8 2/3 innings against the Rockies. That lone run came in the ninth inning on a RBI single, but Heath Bell came on to finish out the game. Latos has only approached this kind of dominance once before, back on May 25 against the Cardinals. It's encouraging to see Latos finish the season strong, as his ERA has dropped in each of his September starts, entering the month at 3.82 and now resting at 3.60.

Ben Revere, Twins: Revere has hit in seven straight games, including a 4-for-5 night on Tuesday, swiping his 33rd stolen base. His batting average is now up to .264. Add in strong defense and the ability to swipe 40 bases a season, and Revere's stock is on the rise. The Twins will have to decide whether to keep both Revere and Denard Span and play one off the bench or deal one of the two for help. Odds are you'll see Span traded, likely to the Nationals, for middle infield and/or relief help.

Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox:  The last time Papelbon allowed a run, it was July 16. Unfortunately, that streak is now snapped after a bout of lousy timing thanks to a bases-loaded double scoring three Orioles runs that pushed Baltimore to a 7-5 victory. Papelbon came in with one out after Daniel Bard allowed two singles. While Papelbon punched out Chris Davis, he couldn't avoid another single and then a double to further send Red Sox fans into a pit of malaise.

Drew Stubbs, Reds:
Drew Stubbs punched out twice on Tuesday, giving him 200 strikeouts in a season. That gives him the distinction of being the first player not named Mark Reynolds to accomplish the feat. Even Adam Dunn hasn't done it, which shows you just how difficult it is to reach 200 strikeouts. "It is what it is," Stubbs told Eye on Baseball's C. Trent Rosecrans after the game. "It's not something anyone's ever proud of. I don't know. I don't know what else to say." Stubbs struck out a ton last season as well during a year where he notched a 20/20 season but has become a bit of a free swinger this year which may have something to do with his disappointing year at the plate. He's been increasingly hacktastic the last couple of months.

Rich Harden, Athletics: Ever since the trade deadline, Harden has been alternating clunkers with good games. There's the 10 strikeout game against the Royals... coughing up six runs to the Yankees ... blanking the Jays over seven innings... and Tuesday night, allowing five earned runs to the Rangers in just three innings, spiking his ERA to 5.17. Despite the late tailoff, Harden's talent is still so great that he'll get plenty of calls this offseason to be either a starter or reliever.

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Posted on: July 6, 2011 12:23 am
Edited on: July 6, 2011 11:46 am

Umpire's missed call costs Blue Jays

Edwin Encarnacion

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Another day in baseball, another bad call that could have been reversed with the simplest form of instant replay review.

But once again since the play in question wasn't a boundary play, instead a play at the plate, the Blue Jays were dealt a loss instead of getting a chance to play for a win at Fenway Park.

After Jose Bautista's two-run homer off of Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon moved the Jays to within a run, Edwin Encarnacion singled. After J.P. Arencibia's two-out walk, John McDonald singled to left. Red Sox left fielder Darnell McDonald charged the ball and made a good throw to the plate that beat Encarnacion there. Catcher Jason Varitek blocked the plate with his left leg, tying up Encarnacion's lead leg. However, Encarnacion swiped the plate with his other leg, his right, before Varitek could put the tag on him.

Home plate umpire Brian Knight called Encarnacion out, ending the game. Watch the play here.

"We should still be playing right now," Toronto manager John Farrell told reporters (via the Boston Herald). That play is right in front of Brian Knight. It was clear that Edwin did a good job of sliding around the plant leg of 'Tek, but his swipe tag missed him by no less than a foot. So right now we should be out on that field playing."

Farrell said he couldn't see the play live, but when he saw the replay, he knew Encarnacion was safe.

"After the replay, absolutely, because from our vantage point Edwin is right in line with the play at the plate," Farrell said. "But the wide margin which he missed the tag, a little surprised that the call went that way."

It's understandable why Knight called Encarnacion out, but that doesn't make it right. Once again, I'll go into my broken record mode, but the goal of umpires and Major League Baseball should be to get every call right. We have the technology, we should use it. Let the players decide the games, not the umpires.

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Posted on: June 17, 2011 4:17 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 5:04 pm

Papelbon suspension reduced to two games

By Evan Brunell

Jonathan Papelbon's suspension has been reduced from three games to two and he will immediately serve it, knocking him out for the first two games of interleague play as the Milwaukee Brewers come to town, the Boston Herald reports.

Daniel Bard will serve as closer in the interim. Papelbon was suspended for his actions against the Oakland Athletics almost two weeks ago. Papelbon and catcher Jason Varitek were increasingly frustrated with home-plate umpire Tony Randazzo's strike zone, and 'Tek received an ejection from the game in the ninth inning to show for it.

Papelbon followed two batters later, when he was seen yelling from the mound after throwing a first-pitch strike in a location that had been called a ball previously. He claims he was trying to get new catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia coming to the mound, but Randazzo felt Papelbon was yelling at him, so he stepped out from behind the plate and took steps toward the closer, yelling right back. Papelbon was admittedly antagonistic, but blew up when Randazzo ran him from the game. He ran furiously at the umpire, possibly bumping him in the process, then let Randazzo know exactly what was on Papelbon's mind.

Also on Friday, the BoSox placed shortstop Jed Lowrie on the disabled list and called up Drew Sutton. Lowrie has struggled with a shoulder injury for some time, with the injury worsening during Thursday's game. Marco Scutaro is expected to take over full-time duties at short.

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Posted on: June 8, 2011 1:45 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2011 2:21 pm

Can Papelbon catch Rivera in career saves?

Rivera, Papelbon

By Evan Brunell

Jonathan Papelbon reached a milestone Tuesday, by notching his 200th career save and becoming the fastest closer to 200 saves. He did so in 359 games, breaking Mariano Rivera's record by 23 games.

Papelbon's had a tough go of it lately. His 3.90 ERA set last season was a career high over the 2.65 mark he tossed up in his rookie year, when he started three games and relieved in an additional 15 with no saves to his ledger. A couple of disastrous stints recently have lifted his ERA to 4.50, but all told is having one of his finer seasons in the majors as his 2.16 xFIP indicates.

Papelbon, who admitted that getting his 200th save was special for him, had effusive praise for Rivera, whom the Red Sox tried to entice this offseason with a two-year deal to replace Papelbon.

“I think I’ve said this 100 times, I’ve always called him the godfather. That’s what he is: he’s the godfather of this role,’’ Papelbon told the Boston Globe. “He’s the one that has made this role what it is today. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it."

All true. Rivera doesn't hold the career saves record set by Trevor Hoffman last season, but with 16 saves on the season he is just 26 away from the record of 601. (Check out an interview with Hoffman conducted by MLB, and his opinion of Rivera passing his record.) At age 41, his streak of a sub-2.00 ERA doesn't appear to be ending anytime soon, as well as his career. At the rate Rivera is going, he could be the best closer in the game at age 50.

But does Papelbon have a chance of catching and passing Rivera for all-time saves? After all, if Papelbon beat Rivera to 200 career saves, it stands to reason he could overtake Rivera by the time Papelbon is ready to hang up his cleats. Rivera was 31 when he hit 200 saves. Papelbon, at a full year younger, would seem to have a pretty good chance.

Don't bet on it.

There are two major reasons while Papelbon will not match Rivera's mark and could struggle to even reach 500. The first is the fact that Rivera is an ageless phenomenon, notching more saves from age 35 on than he had up to age 31 with 239. Only Hoffman (249) and Dennis Ecklersley (293) had more, and only four other names are within 100 of Rivera: Jose Mesa, Doug Jones, Hoyt Wilhelm and John Smoltz. Just 14 overall had 100 or more saves at age 35 or older. (See table.) That's rarefied company, and while Papelbon has the talent to last as long as Rivera has, the odds are small.

Closers like Rivera and Hoffman, who last years in the role, are the exception. All too often, it seems that closers have a good five-year run in them before they collapse. To have someone closing for almost two decades at an elite level -- that's an even tougher class to crack. That group is only inhabited by Rivera and Hoffman, and Ecklersley if you choose to include him even though he had a strong 12-year run as a starter before closing. Even if Papelbon can keep up the quality that is allowing him to succeed so far, it's a lot to ask someone to average 40 saves over the next 10 years, which Papelbon would need to do to keep pace.

But can Papelbon keep up what's gotten him so far? He lacks a signature pitch that doesn't rely on velocity, like Rivera's cut-fastball or Hoffman's "Bugs Bunny" changeup. Papelbon has a great fastball, but he can't keep up that type of heat and command consistently over the next decade throwing at maximum velocity with each pitch. That would defy the aging process. Take a look at the leaderboard for average fastball velocity for relievers from 2009 to now. How many late 30s/early 40s relievers do you see? (None; the only one older than 35 with at least a 94-mph fastball is Francisco Cordero at age 36.)

To last into his late 30s and early 40s, which Papelbon has to do to catch up with Rivera, one of his secondary pitches is going to have to improve. The splitter? Not likely, as the effectiveness of that pitch goes along with the fastball. He also has a quality slider, but it's certainly not a Daniel Bard slider; it's one that he uses to keep batters honest but is not a put-away pitch.

Papelbon may have been the fastest to reach 200 saves, but barring turning into a freak of nature (which is exactly what Rivera is), don't bet on Papelbon passing Rivera -- or even Hoffman -- on the career saves list.

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Posted on: June 7, 2011 5:20 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 7:03 pm

Papelbon, Marquis suspended for weekend incidents

By Matt Snyder

Major League Baseball announced the suspensions of two pitchers Monday. Jonathan Papelbon of the Red Sox was suspended for three games, and Jason Marquis of the Nationals was suspended for five. Both pitchers have appealed the suspensions.

Papelbon was suspended and fined an undisclosed amount for an incident that occurred Saturday afternoon against the A's. He entered the game with a four-run lead in the ninth and blew it. During the inning, Papelbon and catcher Jason Varitek believed he was being squeezed by home plate umpire Tony Randazzo. Varitek was tossed from the game earlier in the inning and Papelbon was run one pitch into an at-bat that followed the game-tying hit. After exchanging words from afar, Papelbon charged toward Randazzo and made slight contact before being restrained by manager Terry Francona.

Click here for Papelbon's response to the ruling in a blog by Danny Knobler

Marquis was tossed after hitting Justin Upton with a high-and-tight pitch in the sixth inning Sunday. Both benches had already been warned after the Nats' Jayson Werth and Mike Morse were hit in the fifth inning -- a continuation of hit batsmen that had been going on throughout the series. Because of the warning, it made sense that Marquis was ejected, but the suspension is a bit surprising considering the circumstances. The Nationals held a 1-0 lead, and hitting Upton gave the D-Backs runners on first and second with one out.

Nationals manager Jim Riggleman and Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson were also suspended for one game. Esmerling Vasquez, the Diamondbacks pitcher who hit Werth, was also suspended for three games.

The suspensions will be held in abeyance until the appeal process is completed.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com