Jonathan Papelbon blew the save last in last night’s Red Sox-Yankees game. This was due in part to a walk to Alex Rodriguez just prior to Robinson Cano’s RBI single that tied the game. It was a walk Papelbon didn’t think was deserved:
“Really rough tonight, considering the fact that I’m not only
pitching against the hitter, I’m pitching against the umpire. When
you’ve got to do that against this lineup, you’ll never be successful.””When
you’ve got to do that, you’re in a lose-lose situation. Just call the
game. There’s 27 outs. Call the game. Don’t let the crowd influence you,
don’t let the hitter influence you, don’t call the pitch where the
catcher catches it. Stay focused for 27 outs and call the game.”
I was watching the game and, yeah, Papelbon had a right to be mad at the strike zone. But the fact is that home plate ump Phil Cuzzi squeezed Mariano Rivera in the top of the ninth as well. Rivera didn’t complain about it after the game, however. And I’d bet any amount of money that he wouldn’t, even if the Yankees took the loss.
Welp, that didn’t last long. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is going back on the injured list with more knee issues. If it matters the Sox say it’s not a big deal and they expect him back sooner rather than later, but they also said that his post-2017 knee surgery was just a “cleanup” at first and that basically cost him a year. So.
Pedroia has played in six games and is 2-for-20 with a walk.
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that Pedroia’s career may be nearing an end. Sure, he’s under contract for two more years after this season, but he’s also in a unfortunate spiral that so many players experience in their mid-to-late 30s.
Running a website like this makes it all the clearer, actually. When you search a player’s name in our CMS, you get every post in which he appears in reverse chronological order. Just about every long-tenured player ends with about six posts in which he is alternately placed on and activated from the disabled/injured list. Then an offseason link to a big feature in which he’s written about as being “at a crossroads” followed by something vague about “resuming baseball activities” and then, inevitably, the retirement announcement. I can’t count the number of guys whose careers I can tick off in that way by browsing the guts of this site.
I hope that’s not the case for Pedroia. I hope that there’s a “Pedroia wins Comeback Player of the Year” post in the future. Or at the very least a silly “Miller’s Crossing” reference in an “And that Happened” in which I say “the old man’s still an artist with the Thompson” after he peppers the ball around in some 3-for-4, two-double game. I want that stuff to happen.
It’s just that, if you watch this game long enough, you realize how unlikely that is once a player starts to break down.