Nationals manager Dusty Baker suggested after Tuesday's loss to the Indians that the team could potentially explore a change at closer, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com reports. "It's too soon after [the game to make a decision on a closer]," Baker said about 15 minutes after the loss. "I mean, that's [Papelbon's] job. That's what he's getting paid for. I don't know. We just have to go back to the drawing board. It's too early to say after the game."
Papelbon blew only his third save in 22 chances on the season, but Tuesday's outing was a total disaster as he failed to record an out en route to surrendering three runs (two earned), two hits and two walks. He was tagged for four runs over 0.2 innings in his previous outing and with the Nationals fighting for playoff position, it might make sense for the team to explore other ninth-inning options until Papelbon regains his mojo. The veteran closer is sitting on a career worst 4.18 ERA and 1.42 WHIP for the season and has been outproduced by top setup man Shawn Kelley, who owns a 3.11 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 58 strikeouts across 37.2 innings. Look for the Nationals to at least address their underwhelming bullpen by acquiring a reliever prior to the Aug. 1 trade deadline, but it's uncertain if they'll pony up for a potential new closer now that the top prize on the market, Aroldis Chapman, has been dealt to the Cubs.