Jonathan Papelbon's Bad Philadelphia Phillies' Inning is Irrelevant

By Sean O'Brien
Philadelphia Phillies Jonathan Papelbon
Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports

Actually, Philadelphia Phillies‘ closer Jonathan Papelbon didn’t have a bad inning. He only lasted two-thirds of an inning against the Detroit Tigers in his Grapefruit League debut.

This was one of those spring training games that probably will be forgotten within a few days. Just like Roy Halladay’s pre-season outings last year, right?

Overreacting to one Florida baseball game that was played in late February is over-the-top. It’s also something that all baseball geeks across the digital spectrum are prone to doing. But, “Cinco Ocho” did create an 81.00 ERA and a 10.50 WHIP through his efforts.

Are visions of Brad Lidge, circa 2009, floating through your mind? His 0-8 record, 7.21 ERA, 1.807 WHIP and -2.7 WAR were better than Papelbon’s first spring foray. That performance also happened just one season after his monumental 2008 year where the Phillies won a few games, danced liked it was 1980 in October, and then were driven down Broad Street on a great Halloween day. If middle-aged memory serves me, Chase Utley may have referred to that event as a gosh darn great parade.

Clearly the humor used in this space has been a diversion from the real question: Does Papelbon have some type of injury issue that he’s battling, or was his first outing simply a bad game?

The two historical reference points (Halladay and Lidge) that were cited represent very serious health concerns that dramatically affected both players’ ability to work. But, those are through much larger sample sizes.

If Papelbon ignites the flames his next time out, people will begin to panic. As of this moment, there’s no reason to be uptight.

Follow Sean on Twitter @SeanyOB, Facebook, Google+ and read his blog Insight.

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