Jonathan Papelbon is quietly the Phillies’ best reliever

He hasn’t had many opportunities, but when Papelbon has been asked to close a game, he has delivered. Credit: Getty Images
He hasn’t had many opportunities, but when Papelbon has
been asked to close a game, he has delivered. Credit: Getty Images

Quiet and Jonathan Papelbon have been mutually exclusive throughout much of his eventful career. Papelbon, who has been a vocal part of the Phillies clubhouse since joining the team after signing a $50 million contract prior to the 2012 season, has been quietly having a good season.

Papelbon, who is one of the few bright spots out of Ryne Sandberg’s bullpen, has been very good after blowing the second game of the season in Arlington.

The intense closer, who saved the 300th game of his career Tuesday night against the offensively challenged San Diego Padres, has a 1.48 ERA and 14 saves. Pap also has 12 clean innings in 25 appearances in 2014.

Papelbon is pleased with his season and over the moon over save 300.

“It means a lot to me, more than most people would think,” Papelbon said of his 300th career save.

It took Papelbon 17 days to have the opportunity to reach the magic number but it wasn’t his fault since save opportunities have been few and far between. His team has struggled mightily. After scuffling through a subpar spring, some pundits wondered if Papelbon would struggle.

But he has come on after the first week of the 2014 campaign. After entering the season with a subpar fastball, Papelbon has increased his velocity. His effective fastball peaks at about 93 mph, which in tandem with his splitter, has proven to be a difficult combination for the opposition.

Having a solid reliever is a luxury for a cellar dwellar. It would be shocking if the Phillies, who had the worst record in the National League entering last night’s game with the Padres, were anything but sellers. Their biggest problem is who can they unload? It’ll be difficult to trade the oft-injured Mike Adams, who is back on the disabled list. It will tough to deal Cliff Lee since he’ll be back, at earliest, within a month and then there is huge salary and limited-no trade clause to contend with. Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley have complete no-trade clauses. If Ruben Amaro swaps Carlos Ruiz for prospects, who will catch?

The Phillies trade chips are very limited. However, Papelbon, who could provide a boost for a contender, which lacks a closer, might provide a prospect.

“It helps that Papelbon is pitching much better than last year,” a NL scout said. “He could really help someone the way he’s pitching. The Phillies and a trading partner would have to work out the contract part, so maybe something happens in July.”

In the meantime, Papelbon will continue to close games for the Phillies. Considering how poor the opposition is during this homestand, perhaps Pap will have a number of chances through Sunday.

Papelbon, who is the third youngest closer to reach 300, hopes to double that figure. “I got to try and keep working hard,” Papelbon said. “Hopefully I’ll get another 300, if I stay healthy.”


At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…


Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.


VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.


NYS state forces thrift shops comply with ban…

Nine New York City thrift shops were reprimanded by the state attorney general for selling children's clothes with drawstrings around the neck and waist.


'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 11,…

Caleb's not a ghost. Spencer might still be an attempted murderer. And Hanna's going to die next week. In other words, we actually got some…


At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

Marvel Entertainment's Stan Lee is adding outposts to his creative empire to interest a new generation of children in super heroes of all shapes and sizes.


Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.


5 things you need to know about new…

"Doctor Who" returns Saturday with a new star, Peter Capaldi. Here's some things to know about him (mainly his turn as sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker).


Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.


2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)


MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb


David Wilson returns to triple jump, sets sights…

Giants fans know David Wilson can jump. They are just more used to seeing him go for backflips, not distance.


11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.


How everyday moments can inspire kids' creativity

"The Artist's Way for Parents" author Julia Cameron gives advice on how parents and children can be creative together.


How to stay safe online

Stop worrying about keeping your online passwords safe, and start worrying about keeping your username a secret. Actually, worry about both. According to Shaun Murphy…


OpenTable now lets you pay your bill via…

The restaurant app OpenTable added the ability to pay your bill (and tip) with your phone, thus cutting back on a few dining annoyances.