-BY: Wild Thing
Is Jonathan Papelbon getting a bad rap because of the media?
Now if can recall, many media reports said that the 2011 season would be Papelbon‘s last season in a Red Sox uniform. Why would it be his last, what led to the media and Theo to doubt him on the mound? If you look at Paps statistics, he has averaged over 37 saves the past 5 seasons.
In the beginning of the 2011 season, scouts said Daniel Bard would take over the closer role from Pap midway thru the season. Red Sox media was reporting that the 2011 season could be Paps last year in a Red Sox jersey. But why take the closer role away from a World Series Champion, 3 time all star, and one of the best closers in the game today? (Finished in the top 10 in saves every season)
Why do fans and the media doubt Papelbon? There could be a few items on the list. Could fans and the media still be sore that Pap allowed his dog “Boss,” to chew up the ball that recorded the final out of the 2007 World Series? I doubt it.
This media criticism about Pap really started in the 2009 playoffs. In the 2009 ALDS against the Angels, Boston down 2 games to none, Papelbon blew a 5 run lead in front of the Fenway faithful. In his 17 postseason appearances, no team had ever managed to get by him so that game was definitely a shocker. Then in 2010 Pap had 7 blown save opportunities, 3 of which came against the Yankees.
We are now 2 months into the 2011 season, Pap has 9 saves, 2 shy of the 11 he had at this time last year. He has shown better control and has not blown a save opportunity this season.
I hope the media and fans have finally renewed their faith in Pap this season. Even though the bullpen is hurting right now, (Bard 1-4 record and blowing 2 of his last 3 save opportunities and Jenks still with a strained right bicep) Papelbon has been the one bright spot.
With the offense finally clicking and no blown saves this season, I think Red Sox Nation will be hearing more of “Shipping Out to Boston” as they see their closer run out of the bullpen to take the Sox to the Series, this year and beyond.
Do you want to see Papelbon back next season? Leave your comments below.