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Sox bats blast Ubaldo, but Papelbon can't close the deal

Jun 24, 2010, 8:20 AM EST

Bad day at Black Rock. Or Rockies. Or whatever.

If I would have told you yesterday afternoon that the Red Sox would score six runs on ten hits off Ubaldo Jimenez and would still lose the game you probably would have had me committed. That’s what happened, though, because Jonathan Papelbon imploded in stunning fashion.

The Sox were leading 6-5 in the ninth when Ian Stewart led off by smacking the second pitch he saw over the right field wall to tie the game. After a Clint Barmes single and a Ryan Spilborghs sacrifice, Jason Giambi launched one of his own — this one on a splitter that just kind of spun up there — to
give Colorado the walk-off win.

That’s never a good outcome, but it stings all the more given that the Sox had done the seemingly impossible and lit up the previously un-light-uppable Ubabldo. And it wasn’t just the big dogs doing it. The offensive hero of the night for the Red Sox was Daniel Nava, who hit two RBI doubles, the first of which got Boston on the board when they were down 4-0 and the second of which started a four-run sixth inning rally.

But that’s all a footnote to the Papelplosion. It’s only his second blown save this season, but he’s now allowed six homers this year and I imagine that these last two will lead to calls for Daniel Bard to get a shot in the ninth inning.

  1. YankeesfanLen - Jun 24, 2010 at 9:51 AM

    Just love it when the Giambino channels his inner Yankee to hit a walkoff vs. Sox

  2. malmstorm - Jun 24, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    What was with the Rockies mascot pulling a Linda Blair during the celebration? Has he always spun his head around after a victory?

  3. aleskel - Jun 24, 2010 at 10:42 AM

    Giambi hasn’t been able to hit a good heater for about 5 years now, why on earth are you throwing him a splitter?!!

  4. NYCBaseball - Jun 24, 2010 at 11:28 AM

    Love that word – Papelplosion. Epic.

  5. APBA Guy - Jun 24, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    Wow, former A’s great Jason Giambi makes headlines for something besides batting under .200. Papelbon will probably say that the Giambi HR off the splitter is why he is going back to throwing all fastballs.

  6. Will - Jun 24, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    Oh, and according to Ringolsby et al., Ubaldo had the flu. And since, by all accounts, Jimenez is a pretty clean-cut guy, I don’t think it was a euphemism for “drunk.” I’m thrilled the Rockies picked him up for a change. This was the first game all season that they won after being down in the 7th (or later) inning.
    @malmstorm, Dinger does a schtick trying to hex the opposing pitcher in the ninth. The head rotating thing is part of that. Speaking as a Rockies fan, it’s annoying.

  7. JBerardi - Jun 24, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    “I imagine that these last two will lead to calls for Daniel Bard to get a shot in the ninth inning.”

    While that’s probably true, it’s not going to solve the problem. Bard was not only asked to retire four batters last night as opposed to the three charged to Papelbon, but he came in with runners on base. He retired all four in order and stranded the runner, of course. That’s been the story all season. The win expectancy stats on this are pretty clear on this: he’s the most valuable reliever in the American league. He’s coming into very high leverage situations (second highest average in the AL), and he’s doing it often (leads the league in appearances). All that adds up to a league-leading Win Probability Added. The point is, the Red Sox are getting better use out of Bard now than they would be if he was a traditional closer.

    And really, Bard has been the only bright spot. Papelbon is not the same pitcher he once was. You can examine the statistical record or you can just watch the guy pitch, but the conclusion is the same: this guy is a very ordinary pitcher in 2010. Meanwhile, just about everyone in the bullpen seems to have reached their sell-by date simultaneously. Okajima isn’t fooling anyone these days and isn’t particularly effective against lefties, Ramon Ramirez has an on-again, off-again, but-really-mostly-off-for-a-while-now type relationship with the strike zone, Manny Delcarmen hasn’t had a consistent stretch of good pitching in two years now, and after those guys you’re pretty much in the wilderness Scott Achinson journeymen types.

    The point? Get this team some damned bullpen help already. The Red Sox offense is an unstoppable juggernaut, and the way their starting rotation is set up, they’re pretty much going to have to sink or swim with the guys they have now. They can’t ride Danial Bard to the World Series alone, though.

  8. Pisano - Jun 24, 2010 at 4:04 PM

    At the stadium , he’s called PapelBUM , that name may be more appropriate . All I can say is, get ready Daniel Bard , your turn is near .

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