Jonathan Papelbon got his 113th save as a Phillie, giving him the most all-time in red pinstripes.
But does anybody really care that he beat out Jose Mesa to set a record for a last-place team?
He certainly did it in dramatic fashion, with a runner on third and one outJeff Francouerunleashed the cannon that is his right arm for a rare 9-2 game-ending double playto irradicate a two-base error Papelbon had made earlier. The play also solidified a 3-2 win over the Pirates.
The closer, who also holds the Red Sox career mark with 219 certainly cares, as did the one-third capacity stadium in the ninth inning of Thursday night’s game.
“I don’t even know what just happened,” Papelbon said. “If there’s one way to do it that’s the way to do it, go out in an exciting way. It means a lot to me honestly it does.”
Papelbon has had a love-hate relationship with the City of Brotherly love — okay, mostly hate. When he joined the team in 2012, he was looking for greener pastures. And all he got was a mismanaged team that descended further and further out of contention with every season as the Phillies’ core got older and young talent failed to replace them.
“I came here to try and win Championships but this organization is not in the realm of thinking,” Papelbon said. “We are trying to do other things but for me its an opportunity to do what I can every day.”
Perhaps the best legacy he can give is a young piece at the trade deadline. The righty has had his splitter working all season long as well as a fastball with some zip, and his seven saves and 1.26 ERA has been more thanrespectable.
“I know that he loves what he does and he thrives on his job of getting the last three outs,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. “He was able to do it and holds the record for two different organizations and that speaks for itself.”
Even Cole Hamels, a pitcher desperate for run support (he got three runs Wednesday night to improve to 10-0 over the last two seasons with three or more runs of support) feels a little better when he knows Pap has his back.
“To be a teammate with him,” Hamels started, “in the situation and and timing with our organization, the Phillies have been around for along time and it really showsthe type of talent he has and the work ethic papelbon has. .. He’s just going out there doing what he likes to do best. He’s doing the job the right way and from a starters standpoint thats what you want.”
“You can always count on him.”
Papelbonjoined Robb Nen as one of two pitchers to lead two different teams in saves.