There’s never a reason to be concerned over exhibition games that take place during spring training, but the argument can be made that the Philadelphia Phillies may have a reason to be concerned with Jonathan Papelbon after the performance he displayed against the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
Papelbon made his pitching debut for the season on Monday, but he didn’t even make it through an entire inning as the Phillies went on to lose the game 10-1 as their star relief pitcher allowed six runs on 31 pitches–which is not what you want to see from a closer who was supposed to be one of the best in the game. Papelbon will be entering his second season with Philadelphia after spending the first seven years of his career with the Boston Red Sox and has recently been receiving plenty of heat for comments made about the Phillies last year “lacking leadership.”
It’s still early enough in the season where the Phillies shouldn’t have to make a big deal over a performance like this from Papelbon, but this was the last thing they wanted to see happen against the Tigers on Monday. For a team with plenty to prove after falling short of the playoffs in 2012, Philadelphia will need all of the help they can get from their pitching if they have any chance of bouncing back in 2013–especially when it comes to Papelbon.
Hopefully, Papelbon’s disappointing performance was just a simple case of brushing off the rust in his first game of the year and he bounces back with no problem during his next outing.
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