Results tagged ‘ Phillies ’

Catching up with Papelbon

While David Ortiz was the only Red Sox All-Star this season, there was a familiar face in the room during the availability for National League All-Stars on Monday afternoon.

Jonathan Papelbon, a four-time All-Star with Boston, was back on the big stage again, this time for the Philadelphia Phillies.

As was always the case during his years with the Red Sox, Papelbon had plenty to say on a variety of subjects.

Has Papelbon’s newfound wealth changed him? “It hasn’t changed my life at all. I’m good, man. I bought two four-wheelers for hunting camp. That’s about it, man. I went from a Back Bay penthouse to a Renthouse Square penthouse. That’s about it, man. When it’s all said and done, man, I’m easy breezy. I mean, the contract for me, it never real was about money. I’ve said this from the beginning. If it was about money for me, I would have tried to stay and start.

“It was a pride thing for me. It was a thing that I felt like, what can I do to go enjoy myself every day man. But the contract for me and wanting to go year to year like I did, and into the free agency like I did, was, I think, more just the competitive thing for me. Like, I’m going to try to be the best on the field and if I can be best on the field, why not be the best off the field? You know what I mean? It’s just kind of the way I tick.”

Papelbon hasn’t lost any motivation just because he has financial security, right? “No, man, I’m always ready to go, ready to rock. I think, when that starts happening, you really have to ask yourself: should I keep playing this game? When your work ethic changes and you start getting lazy and stuff like that … I’m one of those guys, I don’t do anything [less than full speed]. That’s just what I do.”

It would have been tough for Papelbon to stay in Boston without the only manager he ever had there — Terry Francona. “Yeah. I truly do believe that. Tito told me how to play big league baseball. I tell you what, that [guy ripped into me] sometimes. He did. But a lot of times also, he picked me up when I was falling down. He told me the ins and outs of how to prepare, how to be successful, how to succeed. He told me something one day when I was a rookie, he said, I had Michael Jordan in Birmingham and he said, you’ve got to learn how to fail before you succeed. And man, something just clicked in my head.

“It’s things like that, when I was a young kid coming up, everything, from the first Spring Training I had in Baltimore, sitting down with me and explaining how it works and how to be successful and everything. He was like a father figure to me sometimes. A to Z, to go from having him for a manager from ’05 to 2011, it’s just, him being gone, that wouldn’t have been easy for me. I don’t think it’s easy for Dustin [Pedroia], and I don’t think it’s easy for anyone in that clubhouse. There are adjustments you have to make. “

Was Papelbon gone pretty much the moment Tito left? “I’d say it pretty much closed the door, yeah. Not 100 percent but I wasn’t going to go there and not know what manager I was going to playing for. Even when Philadelphia showed interest in me, I asked around about Charlie, you know, because I think as manager has a lot to do with the way a player ticks and a way a player can go. It did – it had a whole lot. And then Theo bounces, ding, ding, ding, lightbulb went off in my head and I say to myself, Theo bounces, he created all of this. He wouldn’t just leave this behind if … so the wheels started turning.”

How weird would it have been to stay under the new regime? “I think it would be. I don’t think that would be an experience that I could really handle too well.”

The Red Sox never made an offer. “They wanted to see if I could go out and test the market and maybe come back. I don’t know if they would [have countered], but I don’t go back. I go forward.   go full steam ahead, man. I don’t look back. I’ve got a car that don’t have rearview mirrors in it, man. I just go.”

Charlie Manuel reminds Papelbon of Francona. “Charlie’s a really good manager. Charlie’s very similar to Tito. Charlie gets on you when he needs to get on you and lets you be who you need to be.”

Papelbon is thrilled for his close friend and former teammate David Ortiz. “I was saying that earlier. I’m excited for him, I’m happy for him. I mean, I think sometimes he gets his feelings get in the way but that’s Papi, man. Papi, he gets a little emotionally fired up sometimes. You guys know. I mean, I’m happy for him. I couldn’t be happier for him.”

Lack of security for Ortiz, similar to Papelbon’s final years in Boston? “I think it fuels him. He just talks about it a little bit more. David, he’s an emotional guy. He puts his heart and soul into this. I find nothing wrong with what David says. I don’t find … you’ve got a small window, bro. a small window to try to succeed. And what David said and what he’s trying to do, I don’t find nothing wrong with that. no, it don’t surprise me, man.”

“Like I said, you have a small window to do your thing in this game. I’m so happy for him, man.”

Should the Red Sox weigh in intangibles more for a player like Ortiz? “Yeah, I think they should weigh it in. you’re talking about, in my opinion, the Red Sox are not the Red Sox without him, period. I don’t care what he asks for. I’m trying to make that big man happy.”

Papelbon is well aware that his former bullpen mate Daniel Bard, who is now in Triple-A, is having a rough time of it.  “I have. I haven’t talked to him. I’ve been meaning to actually talk to him here lately but, you know, Daniel’s the kind of guy, he’s a mature athlete and he knows what it’s about. He’s going to be fine. I really do think he’s going to be fine. He’s taking some bumps and some bruises right now but who doesn’t. You’re not in the big leagues if you’re not taking bumps and bruises. I took my bumps and bruises in 2010. You’re going to take some bumps and bruises. I think he’ll become better.”

Papelbon thinks Bard will be OK.  “He’s a pretty mentally strong kid. He really is. I saw that in the bullpen. I saw the days he got beat up and the way he  came back. I saw him have success the way he handled that. I think he’ll be fine.”

Papelbon unveiled in Philly

How strange did Jonathan Papelbon look in that white pinstriped Phillies uniform late Monday afternoon?

Papelbon, the all-time leader in saves for the Red Sox, is officially gone.

Here is a sampling of what he said at his unveiling today:

“This happened pretty quick, it really did. I was on the phone with my agents for a couple of days and it happened pretty quick. Quicker than I thought. For me and my personal decision, to come here was solely based on the guys showing interest in me here and Ruben showing interest in nme. Im the type of guy, I’m loyal to those who are loyal to me. It really didn’t boil down to going back to the Red Sox and seeing if they wanted me back. I knew these guys wanted me so there was no hesitation.”
Did the Red Sox lack loyalty? “No, it wan’t that at all. it was just the simple fact that the Phillies showed they were interested in me. I wanted to make this d ecision quick and get it over with. The Phillies showed the utmost loyaslty to me. I didn’t want to sit there and debeate whether I should go back to Boston or come here. the Phillies showed they wanted me, so I showed the same respect.”
The 58 at the end of his contract? “I don’t know, you’re going to have to ask Cinco Ocho that question. I can’t give you that. I can give you his phone number if you need it.”

Why the Phillies? “The Phillies were very high on my list. They were probably the number one team on my list for the simple fact is’t an environment that meks me tick. The fans are into eveyr pitch, the fans are knowledgeable about baseball. The fans aren’t going to expect anything more than what I’m going to expect out of myself.”

Fans similar to Boston: “I don’t think I’m looking to preare to come to pitch here. I don’t think anything is going to be different. I’m not going to try to come here and be a pitcher that I’m not or excced expectations or guarantee expectations. I’m going to show up every day and work and prepare the best way I can and the way I’ve done the last seven seasons in the big league.s that’s all I can do.”

Talks with the Red Sox? “To answer the first part of that question, there were no talks with the Red Sox, as far as getting something done and both of us agreeing on. There were talks but I don’t think anything kind of evolved.”

Tito and Theo leaving: “I don’t think that really played much part in my decision. That’s part of the nature of this game. players come and go every year. Coaches come and go every year.”

Any other offers, “We discussed a few other options but for me, my agents called me every day with what could possibly happen. I think one day, I finally told them, listen, I want to go play for the Phillies. Let’s make it happen. they called me two dyas later and they made it happen.”
“There’s something in my heart that feels like I was meant to be here in this city and play for this organization.”

Changing leagues, “Actually I was just talking to Charlie a little bit about that. In the American league, ther’s no looking on deck. In the National League, there’s a little bit more of a cat and mouse game. I don’t think for a closer and in my role, there’s that much of a difference. I have to go out there and preserve wins for the ballclub. That’s the bottom line. As far as the way the season ended last year, I’ve always felt if it doesn’t kill you I’ts going to make you stronger. There’s plenty of situations and plenty of ups and downs. I’ve had my fair share of ups, my fair share of downs. Those experiences, hopefully they make you better.”

Why did Ruben Amaro, Jr. want Papelbon so bad? “I think more than anything else, probably a few things. Obviously his durability,” Amaro said. “His consistency. The fact he’s had postseason experience in a very high-pressured situation. All those things were important to use because he’s kind of gone through the wars. He’s made the last pitch when it’s been necessary. Any time you’ve had someone who’s made the last pitch, that means a lot.”

Phillies GM impressed by the Red Sox

Most national publications will probably predict the Red Sox and Phillies to face off in the World Series this season. Today, the clubs squared off at City of Palms Park, which is obviously a much lighter atmosphere than a potential Fall classic would be.

The Red Sox added Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to their team. The Phillies got Cliff Lee back, their World Series hero from 2009.

Count Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. among those impressed by the Sox.

What does he think of the Sox on paper?

“This is the best club in baseball, I think,” said Amaro. “The combination of speed, power pitching and bullpen — they’re a hell of a ballclub. They don’t have a whole lot of holes.

“Any time you bring that kind of talent to your club, they did a heck of a job. They already had a great team except for a whole lot of injuries. For them being in the race, to hang around as decimated as they were, they were decimated every bit as much as the Mets were a couple years back. For them to kind of keep things afloat is pretty impressive.”

Getaway day against the good Doctor

You know how they say a great performance like the one Daisuke Matsuzaka had Saturday night can get a sputtering team on track? Today is the ultimate test. Momentum is only as good as your next day’s starting pitcher. Well, the Red Sox have a good one going in Tim Wakefield. But they are facing one of the best in the game in Roy Halladay.

The good news is that the Sox have had more success against Halladay than just about any other team, going 14-14.

Here are the Sox hitters lifetime vs. Halladay.

Ellsbury — .259, 2 homers, 4 RBIs
Pedroia — .211, 1 homer, 2 RBIs
Martinez — .333, 0 homers, 0 RBIs
Youkilis — .352, 1 homer, 7 RBIs
Drew — .300, 1 homer, 1 RBI
Beltre — .167, 0 homers, 2 RBIs
Hermida — .667, 0 HRs, 1 RBI
Scutaro — .429, 0 HR, 1 RBIs
Ortiz (available off bench), .273, 6 HRs, 24 RBIs
Varitek (available off bench) .205, 2 HRs, 10 RBIs

With a big series in Tropicana Field looming, the Red Sox could badly use a win today.

Friday night in Philly

Back to Interleague Play, where I’ve already seen John Lackey execute a perfect sacrifice bunt.

What is imperfect for the Red Sox is that David Ortiz can’t be in the lineup despite being red-hot. Kevin Youkilis is equally hot, but there’s no DH, meaning only one guy can play. Tonight, that guy is Youkilis. Perhaps by tomorrow, it will be Ortiz. But one thing manager Terry Francona said you won’t see this weekend is Youk playing third and Ortiz starting at third. Youkilis hasn’t spent any time at third this season with Mike Lowell on the roster as the backup 3B, so Francona doesn’t think it’s fair to throw that at him now.

In another encouraging sign that ace Josh Beckett will be able to return as soon as his DL stint expires on June 3, the righty played catch before Friday’s game.

“That’s the first step,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “And again I haven’t talked to him, but he will kind of ramp back up throwing, and then when he’s ready for a side, we’ll do that and then take it from there. But I think like we said the other day, we weren’t thrilled about putting him on the DL. But I think if you’re going to err — I don’t know that we did
err — but if you’re going to, we want it to be on the side of caution. I think we probably did the right thing. Now we’ll get him back up feeling good about himself.”

Jacoby Ellsbury will be back in the leadoff spot on Saturday night, which will be a most welcome thing for Red Sox followers.

Red Sox are back in season

Now that the Yankees have capped off their 27th World Series championship, the work begins all over again for 30 general managers. This is their time of year. Free agents can’t start filing as early as today.

Jason Bay and Boston’s other eligible free agents aren’t eligible to sign with another team until Nov. 19.

What will this Hot Stove season bring? While the lasting image of the 2009 Red Sox is a sweep by the Angels in the Division Series, the fact of the matter is that this team is in pretty good shape going forward.

That being said, you know Theo Epstein will do something significant. The question is, exactly what?

Will there be major changes or subtle tweaks?

On a side note, it was too bad that Pedro just didn’t have it last night. I could tell from the first pitch it wasn’t going to be his night. He didn’t have that look of excitement he normally has when he knows he has his good stuff. He was so deliberate between pitches. There was little to no life on his fastball. And Matsui got him.

The next baseball game we will see will take place under the warm sun of Fort Myers. Bundle up until then!

Pedro on deck as the drama builds

Now, we have ourselves a full-fledged World Series. This, thanks to Chase Utley and Cliff Lee, who have, in tandem, kept the Phillies in this series.

Pedro Martinez will pitch Game 6 again in enemy territory at Yankee Stadium with a chance to make this Fall Classic truly classic and force a Game 7. The Yankees will counter with Andy Pettitte, and you wonder how he will fare on three days rest at this stage of his career.

Obviously not having a fourth starter is a glaring hole for the Yankees. The next couple of days will tell us if it is a fatal hole.

I’m thinking Game 6 gets the best ratings in the New England market for any non-Red Sox World Series game ever. Still a whole lot of Pedro fans in the Nation.

Phillies will fight to make it a Series

I remember when I was growing up, the Super Bowl went through a bad rut where it seemed like almost every year, it was a blowout. The two games that stick in my mind during my youth that were great games were the 49ers-Bengals in 1988, and the Giants-Bills in 1990. Other than that, blah.

Is the same thing going on with the World Series? If the Yankees win tonight, that would make it six years in a row the Fall Classic has been five games or less.

It would be nice to see the Phillies push this thing back to New York for Game 6, and, who knows, maybe even a Game 7?

That double steal by Damon last night was one of the most surreal things I’ve ever seen. It just goes to show you can see something completely new every time you watch a baseball game. I still can’t believe nobody on the Phillies made an attempt to cover third.

Let’s see what happens tonight. The Phillies should have plenty of fire in their eyes with Cliff Lee taking the mound on full rest.

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