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Entrusted with a 6-4 lead, Papelbon did what Papelbon did better than any reliever in Red Sox history — slamming the door to earn his 12th save in 12 tries, but more notably, the first of his life against the Red Sox after recording a team record 219 for them.
“It really wasn’t any different,” Papelbon said in the Phillies clubhouse. “Not one bit.”
It probably helped that Papelbon didn’t have to face any of the teammates he truly went to war with over the years. In the ninth, he faced Kelly Shoppach, Daniel Nava, Marlon Byrd and Nick Punto.
“Valentine can’t distract Cinco, man,” Papelbon said, invoking his alter ego of Cinco Ocho. “Come on. (Cinco’s) got ice in his veins. It ain’t no thing, man.”
“I’ve got a lot of guys over there I consider brothers,” he said. “I grew up with these guys in the big leagues. I’ve got more respect for a lot of guys over there than many people out there. They’re like family to me, some of those guys over there. It’s like backyard baseball with your brother.”
Herald - Same old Jonathan Papelbon rings up Sox
Myabe I simply wasn't paying close enough attention, but I'm pretty sure I've heard more 3rd person references to "Cinco Ocho" in the past week than I have in the past 5 years combined.
For some reason I didn't find facing Papelbon to be nearly as jarring as when I saw Manny suited up in Dodger blue. Maybe it was because the Phillies also don red, but he just seemed like he fit right in on the Phillies team.
A lot of the post-game questions Papelbon received had to do with any weirdness he felt facing his former team. As stated in the article above, he faced Shoppach, Nava, Byrd and Punto. Not players that he has spent any time with. Had it been Papi, Pedroia, Youk and Salty, the feelings may have been slightly different. But probably not. He's still standing 60 feet away from the batter, whipping a ball at the catcher's mitt. Now, had the game taken place at Fenway instead of Philly, then the scene may have been a little different. Taking the mound in Boston, in a Phillies jersey, would certainly have been more emotional for him. And I imagine more jarring for me.
But Papelbon simply did what he always does last night: Shut the door and get the save. Business as usual, regardless of the jersey on the opposing batter.
Photo: The Associate Press
Rest of the links:
Herald - Wild Daniel Bard, ump rile up ejected Bobby Valentine | Globe - Video: Papelbon gets save vs. Red Sox | With Bard wild, Red Sox quickly lose control | CSNNE - Injuries continue to pile up for Red Sox | Bard's control issue out of control | WEEI - The education of Daniel Bard marches on | Status of Ross, Ortiz in question for Saturday | ESPN - Sox running out of time on Dice-K decision