Papelbon proves to be human
We all knew it was coming. In a way, it was better to see Jonathan Papelbon’s streak of scoreless innings end in a game like Wednesday’s, a non-save situation, then if he had coughed up a one-run lead in the ninth.
I think you learn a lot more about someone on a bad night than when things are going well. And Papelbon showed true class and composure after tonight’s game, talking in the same confident tone he speaks with after a save and not making any excuses.
Papelbon spoke the other day about once blowing a save for Mississippi State with a trip to the College World Series at stake. Maybe it’s not Red Sox-Yankees, but Papelbon played in an ultra-intense atmosphere in college, so he’s used to the scrutiny and the pressure. One loss is not going to rattle this kid in the least. He is special.
More troublesome tonight was the game Beckett had. This is three games in a row where he hasn’t pitched well. He was so dominant those first three starts, you wonder what has happened in the last three. Are teams getting a better scouting report on him as he works his way around the American League? There’s no reason to think he’s having health issues, because he’s still hitting the mid ’90s on the gun.
Oh well, next time we get to see him pitch in Yankee Stadium to start the latest showdown next Tuesday. That will be a pretty good indication if Beckett is just in a mini-slump, or if a bigger problem is developing.
Meanwhile, it was nice to see the bottom of the order come up with some key hits in this one. Mike Lowell and Wily Mo Pena in particular took great at-bats all night. And Pena has been steady in center field, even though I know a lot of us had doubts.
Papelbon sort of took Foulke off the hook tonight. Everyone kind of forgets that Foulke also blew a lead tonight. While Foulke has pitched far better than he did last year, he is still prone to having off nights here and there. I think he is still getting the strength back in his knee, and still trying to erase some bad habits he developed last year.
Clement and Towers tomorrow. Clement hasn’t pitched his best game yet. Perhaps that will come Thursday.