Not more than a few hours after I wrote a post about how Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon may be too valuable to be traded, the pair helped blow a 3-0 lead in the ninth. And the Phils wound up losing, 4-3, in 10. But don’t blame Lee, the best pitcher in the National League– he threw eight scoreless innings, striking out seven and walking one. He gave up a single and double to start the ninth, and, at 112 pitches, was removed in favor of Papelbon, who promptly blew his fourth save in a week. Just look at this play-by-play after Lee left the game in the ninth:
So, how does Papelbon, the same guy who criticized teammates last week, explain what happened? “Shit happens,” he told reporters.
In the 10th, Justin De Fratus gave three hitters a free pass and gave up a game-winning single.
Maybe, just maybe, if Charlie Manuel had capable arms in the bullpen, or a closer who wasn’t in a “little funk,” as Manuel called it, Lee never would have gone out for the ninth nearing 110 pitches. Or, maybe, five hitters wouldn’t have been given free passes in the final two innings.