PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Jonathan Papelbon, in the midst of saving 11 straight games, declared himself unable to pitch before Sunday’s series finale against the Mets due to “general soreness.”
The Phillies took a three run lead into the bottom of the 9th inning and were forced to use Antonio Bastardo to close the game, who was unable to do so. The Phillies eventually lost 5-4 in 11 innings.
Phillies General Manager, Ruben Amaro Jr., defended his closer on 94WIP Tuesday morning.
“Pap [Papelbon] will take the ball when he’s able to take the ball,” Amaro Jr. told the WIP Morning Show on Tuesday. “He’s always — he’s never — he’s always challenged himself, he’s always been accountable. I don’t have any issues. If the guy tells us he was not able to pitch, then he was not able to pitch. That’s part of the game, guys can’t perform all the time.”
Many Phillies fans voiced their displeasure of Papelbon not pitching on Sunday, after throwing only 21 combined pitches the previous two nights. Amaro Jr. acknowledged the frustration with the fan base, but explained he doesn’t feel people should be getting on Papelbon, who hasn’t allowed a run in 14 straight innings.
“I know that there’s people out there that probably feel 80 percent of Papelbon must have been better than 100 percent of [Antonio] Batsardo in that situation and I totally understand that, but we have a long season to play,” Amaro Jr. said. “I don’t like losing games and I don’t like losing games in that fashion, clearly. But I don’t believe that generally, people should be getting on Papelbon because the man takes the ball and he’s accountable for the work that he does.”
The Phillies begin a short two-game series on Tuesday, welcoming Millville, New Jersey’s own Mike Trout to Citizens Bank Park. Trout, the two-time all-star and 2012 AL Rookie of the Year, is hitting .272 with seven home runs and 24 RBI’s in 37 games this season.
“Well, I mean he’s got every tool that you could hope for and one of things you could say about him is he, at least after having met him as a person, is he seems pretty genuine,” Amaro Jr. said of Trout. “And when you get that kind of physical package and you add it to what I think his overall goals are, which is to win, makes a great package. He’s a great player.”