Dan Roche joined Tony Massarotti on today’s edition of the Baseball Reporters Show to talk about Jonathan Papelbon. After last night’s blown save, is it unfair to always compare him to Mariano Rivera? Also, is Papelbon the same guy he was 2 years ago?
The good news is last time the Sox lost after a Papelbon blown save, the team went on a 24-8 hot streak and climbed up from the doldrums of the AL East to be contenders again.
The bad news is Papelbon isn’t the same guy he was 2 years ago. It’s probably unfair to compare Papelbon to Mariano Rivera, who’s been the best closer in baseball for well over a decade. Because when you compare Papelbon to everyone else, he’s not bad at all.
Tony thinks the biggest difference between Papelbon and Rivera is that Rivera has a cutter that won’t wear down and Papelbon has a fastball that’s gotten flatter and flatter ever year.
This year, Papelbon has already given up 6 HR. That’s the most HR’s he’s given up in a season for his entire career and we haven’t even hit the All-Star break. Also, Papelbon has lost 4 games this year, which is the most of his career.
For Tony, the blown save itself isn’t a big deal. What worries Tony and Dan Roche is that Papelbon isn’t the same guy. And for this team to have fought back so hard in the last month to be within striking distance of the AL East lead, the margin for error is so small and you can’t blow saves like that.
The Sox will try and avoid the sweep tonight as they play the 3rd and final game of the series vs. the Colorado Rockies. Daisuke Matsuzaka will get the start and will face opposite Jason Hammel.