Jonathan Papelbon Proving he is Still the Closer
Jonathan Papelbon continues to prove the naysayers wrong this year. Many were thinking that he should have been traded after the Sox signed Bobby Jenks. How many still think that? Look what he did yesterday, the Sox still seeking their first win on the road. Bobby Jenks comes into the game with a comfortable 5-1 lead. The A’s loaded the bases with a walk and two singles. Coco Crisp did what Johnny Damon did last week, singled with a clutch hit off his old team, making the score 5-2 and bases still loaded. Jenks struck out Daric Barton, bases loaded, two outs, the score now 5-2. Without a “Shipping off to Boston” blaring in the background, in ran Papelbon.
Up stepped David DeJesus with a chance for Oakland to change the entire tempo of the game. This is a new year for Papelbon, so far he has looked like the Papelbon of old. He is three for three in save opportunities. His fastball looks alive again. Paps went into his usual stare towards home, fired 4 straight 94 mph fastballs before snapping off a 90 mph splitter which DeJesus meekly waved at as it bounced in the dirt for strike three. He did make the ninth inning a little too adventurous for my liking but still walked away with the save.
I still think Daniel Bard is the closer of the future, but I don’t think we is ready too assume the role yet. Will the Sox keep Papelbon this year and let him walk away as a free agent at the end of the year? I personally wouldn’t mind if the two sides started a dialogue about a long term extension. When Papelbon is on like he has been so far, he is one of the elite closers in all of baseball. No “NY Rob”, he is no Mariano Rivera, but who is?
One thing I do know, come the trade deadline the Chicago White Sox are going to be aggressively seeking a closer, too bad Bobby Jenks had to burn that bridge. I would much rather see him go in a trade before Papelbon.
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