With the Phillies holding a 4-1 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth inning on Sunday at Citi Field, Philadelphia's bullpen imploded in spectacular fashion allowing the Mets to force extra innings where they would end up winning 5-4 in 11 innings.
Antonio Bastardo did not get the loss for the Phillies, Jeff Manship did, but Bastardo certainly deserved it. He allowed three runs on three hits while recording just one out. Bastardo, who had been one of the Phillies more reliable relievers entering the season, was in for the save. Why?
Well, that answer is simple. Jonathan Papelbon was not available.
Papelbon, 33, said "everything" was sore from his back to his legs while manager Ryne Sandberg said it was "neck related." Either way, he was not going to pitch on Sunday. Some are citing the fact papelbon threw two consecutive games but let's be honest, not including warm up tosses, Papelbon threw 21 pitches combined in those two outings.
I've been one to rip Papelbon from time to time and justifiably so but he has been really good over the last month for the Phillies. Bill Baer points out Papelbon has pitched 14 innings since his last blown save allowing six hits with three walks, 12 strikeouts and a 0.00 ERA with 11 saves in 11 opportunities. Yeah, he's been good and, had he been available on Sunday, I think the Phillies would've been able to hold on.
On the year, the $50 million closer is 0-1 with a 1.76 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP to go along with 11 saves on the season. His absence on Sunday raises the question, "how many maintenance days do 33-year-old closers need throughout the season?" With an already aging core, maintenance day for a guy that doesn't usually pitch every day has to be a little bit of a concern for Sandberg.
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