Two days ago, Philadelphia Phillies closing pitcher Jonathan Papelbon was selected to the 2015 National League All-Star Team. Papelbon will be the only player representing the Phillies this coming Tuesday in Cincinnati.
With Papelbon’s selection to the game, he is geared to make his sixth appearance at the event – his second time sporting a Phillies’ uniform. This will make him only the third player in the last thirteen years in Philadelphia to go to the All-Star Game alone. Last year, Chase Utley was in the same boat as he was the only Phillies player selected to represent the National League.
While the Phillies closer’s save total does not stand out in front of other closers in the league, this is merely due to the struggling Phillies themselves. They simply do not give Papelbon many save opportunities. In Papelbon’s last 14 save opportunities he has converted all 14 successfully.
However, Jonathan Papelbon’s minute number of save opportunities does not take away from the All-Star season which he is having. This year Papelbon has one of the lowest ERAs amongst all other closers with an ERA as low as 1.69. With that, Papelbon is averaging over one strikeout per inning with 34 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings pitched.
It is evident that the numbers are there, and they are All-Star game worthy. But, to put the icing on the cake for the All-Star closer, Papelbon also broke the Phillies’ franchise saves record earlier this year with his 113th save in a Phillies uniform.
Even though Jonathan Papelbon will be wearing a Phillies jersey in the All-Star Game next Tuesday, for Phillies fans this is more of a token than anything else as we countdown the days until our All-Star closer is traded. Papelbon has already voiced his desire to be moved to a playoff contending team loud and clear, going even as far to say that he would be “disappointed” if he was not traded.
But really, can we blame him anymore? Even though we have all had our run-ins with Papelbon during his stay in Philadelphia, there has been one thing that he has proven time and time again: he is a competitor. And, the truth is, competitors needs to compete. Currently in Philadelphia he does not have the opportunity to compete, so in honesty it is only fair that we trade away our All-Star closer to a place where he can.
Thank you Jonathan for representing Philadelphia in the All-Star Game – even if it is only for a short time coming.