After blowing a save on Monday and taking a loss on Tuesday, Jonathan Papelbon was greeted with boos from Phillies fans before he took the mound in the ninth inning this afternoon against the Giants. He threw a perfect inning to lock down his 24th save of the season and told reporters after the game that the boos didn’t bother him. In fact, he says bring it on.
Here’s a sampling of Papelbon’s comments courtesy of Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:
“I enjoy it,” he said. “I just think that it’s fun. It just brings a little bit of energy and life to the park and gives me a little bit of something to look forward to do every day.”
Papelbon regretted that only half the ballpark booed him.
“I heard some of them,” he said. “But that’s it? Maybe we can get the whole park going here soon.”
Is that a threat? In all seriousness, I appreciate Papelbon embracing his heel persona and having fun with it. 16-time World Champion Ric Flair would be proud.
Here’s video of Papelbon’s comments:
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.