Jonathan Papelbon sounded off during All-Star game week. It’s evident the Phillies closer wants to move on to a contender. Papelbon expressed how frustrated he is pitching for the worst team in baseball while in Cincinnati last week.
Well, Papelbon didn’t look frustrated after he tackled Odubel Herrera at second base after the rookie singled home the winning run in the tenth inning as the Phillies beat the Rays 5-4 and took the three-game series.
"It hurts a little,” Herrera said through first base coach Juan Samuel after he was manhandled by Papelbon, who is six inches taller and considerably more muscular than the relatively slight centerfielder.
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But it doesn’t hurt as much as losing. The Phillies, who are a major league best 5-1 since the All-Star break, were saved by backup third baseman Andres Blanco, who barehanded a bunt and while falling away somehow threw out Jake Elmore to end the ninth inning. If Blanco didn’t make the incredible web gem, the Rays have the lead.
“One of the better plays I’ve seen in my big-league career,” Papelbon said.
There’s a chance Phillies fans have seen the last of Papelbon in red pinstripes. Pete Mackanin’s club will be on the road until July 30, the day before the trade deadline.
A number of players may be out the door but Herrera a Rule 5 pick will be around. The 23-year old Venezuelan has been one of the season’s pleasant surprises. “I love to play,” Herrera said. “I love baseball. I always try my hardest.”
That was evident on Herrera’s game-winner. He fouled off five pitches until he found a fastball he could drive. Cody Asche crossed the plate and the Phillies are in a rare winning stretch.
“This can continue,” Ben Revere said. “We have talent here.”
But what talent will be with the Phillies when they return to from their road trip?