Originally posted on Rumors and Rants  |  Last updated 6/25/13

For most of the first three months of the Major League Baseball season, Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon had been excellent. But for some reason, over his past few outings, the 32-year-old right-hander has fallen apart. On Monday night, Papelbon entered the bottom of the ninth inning with a 3-0 lead over the San Diego Padres. He proceeded to blow his third save in a row and fourth in his last five chances. Maybe this is just a bad stretch of play from him, but man he’s just completely melted down over the past week. Cliff Lee was masterful for eight innings Monday night, holding the Padres scoreless and scattering six hits. But when he opened the ninth inning by surrendering a single to Carlos Quentin and a double to Chase Headley, manager Charlie Manuel called on his closer to finish it out. Papelbon entered and promptly gave up a two-run single to Kyle Blanks, then hit Jesus Guzman to put runners on first and second with no one out. Yasmani Grandal then grounded into a double play, but with two outs, Papelbon threw a splitter to Mark Kotsay that got away from catcher Carlos Ruiz, allowing Blanks to score from third to tie the game at 3. Kotsay eventually walked and Papelbon finally got Alexi Amarista to fly out to center to send the game into extra innings. The Padres won the game in the bottom of the 10th thanks to a bases-loaded single from Blanks. Papelbon had been perfect on save opportunities until June 17, when he blew his first against the Washington Nationals. Including that game he has tossed five innings in his last five appearances, while giving up seven hits and five runs (three earned). He has also walked two batters while only striking out two and allowing two home runs. The eight-year veteran’s ERA has jumped from 1.46 to 2.12 in that span. This could just be a minor blip on the radar of Papelbon’s season, but right now everyone on the Phillies is playing under a microscope. The righty is in the second year of a four-year, $50 million contract and is making $13 million this season. He will definitely be shopped at the deadline if the Phillies are selling. Philadelphia entered the season with baseball’s third-highest payroll at $170.76 million, and the team has only produced a 36-41 record. The Phillies currently sit eight games back of the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Russell Westbrook destroys Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with monstrous dunk

Are the Houston Astros preparing to lose Dallas Keuchel?

Watch Chris Paul embarrass Pelicans player with sick crossover

WATCH: Xavien Howard makes brilliant interception of Tom Brady

NFL threatens ‘significant discipline’ over mistreatment of referees

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Magic Johnson: Lakers could preserve cap room for 2019

Giancarlo Stanton discusses trade to Yankees

Report: Nationals, Cardinals and Giants among teams interested in Marlins' Marcell Ozuna

LaMelo, LiAngelo Ball to join Lithuanian team in January

Carson Wentz out for season with torn ACL

Players avoid suspensions for mayhem in Jacksonville

The 'Josh Gordon is back and the NFL will have to deal with it!' quiz

Free agent profile: Carlos Santana

The best individual performance from every bowl all time

The naughty and nice athletes list for 2017

Knicks GM: We have no interest in tanking

Sports & Politics Intersect: When Olympic gold corrupts

The 'And the winner is...' quiz

The 14 most intriguing NFL draft prospects playing in 2017 bowl games

Why Antonio Brown deserves to be in MVP discussion

Is this when Zach Werenski and the Blue Jackets really get their season going?

Dissecting the road to the NFL postseason

The NFC playoffs will be loaded from top to bottom

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The 'Josh Gordon is back and the NFL will have to deal with it!' quiz

The best individual performance from every bowl all time

NFL Week 14 injury report

Sports & Politics Intersect: When Olympic gold corrupts

The best games of 2017

The naughty and nice athletes list for 2017

The 'And the winner is...' quiz

NHL Weekender: Caps gain ground, Kings ready to rule?

Dissecting the road to the NFL postseason

The 'What's old is new again (but also still old)' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker