Jonathan Papelbon has been terrific in the Phillies' bullpen this season. The rest of the ’pen has given away about seven or eight games, according to Charlie Manuel.
Well, it was the bizarro world Monday night for the Phillies, who were edged by the Dodgers, 4-3. Relievers Joe Savery and Antonio Bastardo kept the game tied. The Phillies' bullpen pitched four scoreless innings before Papelbon entered the game in the ninth inning.
The Phillies' closer, who is still perfect when it comes to finishing games (15-for-15) lost the contest. The Dodgers' speedy Dee Gordon hit a triple in the right-center gap off Papelbon. Gordon scored the decisive run, which ticked off the emotional Papelbon, who thought he struck out the fleet shortstop on a prior pitch.
After recording the third out of the inning, Papelbon let home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn have it. After the game, the colorful Papelbon slammed Reyburn, a Triple-A umpire that fills in at the major league level.
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“He probably needs to go back to Triple-A,” Papelbon said. “If I don’t do my job, I go back to Triple-A. There’s no room for that up here. It’s the integrity of the game. You go out there and play the game the way it should be played.”
The Phillies' offense didn’t play the game the way it should be played. They once again failed in key situations. They had opportunities to take the lead against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, but couldn’t cash in. After Placido Polanco tied the game with a two-run homer, the Phillies stalled. Jimmy Rollins tripled in the fifth with one out, but was gunned down at the plate when running on contact.
In the seventh, the bases were loaded with two outs for Hunter Pence. He came up empty.
“He swings at balls out of the strike zone,” Charlie Manuel said.
Pence appears to be pressing and that’s not surprising since most of the weight is on his big shoulders. The Phillies can only hope that Chase Utley, who went 3-for-4 with a homer and a double in extended spring training, gets back soon and is able to drive the ball in the majors. The Phillies' sluggish offense has been a big reason the team is at .500.
Vance Worley was rusty after returning from the disabled list with a bone chip in his pitching elbow. The big right-hander gave up five hits and three earned runs in four innings.