Perfection is an unfair expectation, even for a $50 million closer, but those expecting to be blown away by Jonathan Papelbon have so far been underwhelmed.
Papelbon allowed four hits and two runs in the bottom of the 10th inning Wednesday, blowing the save mere moments after the Phils had seized a 3-1 lead, setting up what should have been their first three-game sweep of the season. Two of the hits classified as dinks and dunks. Nevertheless, it's the second time in six appearances that Papelbon left a plum, juicy win to die on the vine. Beerleaguers, once again, used the opportunity to eulogize the season.
Papelbon's velocity: "Papelbon's velocity has been notably down all year (as pictured above via Fangraphs.com). He was routinely at 95-96 MPH when he needed it previously. This year he is at 93-94. Part of the reason why his swing/miss so far is at 11.0 percent as a Phillie, which would be a career low and well below his 13.7 percent rate" - MG
Contract set unfair expectations: "That's the point with Paps. We should expect any closer to be perfect, but when you're a closer making $12 million a year, you have to be perfect to even come close to living up to your contract. The fact that he may not even be in the top 15 relievers in baseball so far this year is terrible. He's been a big disappointment so far this year." - Fatalotti
Free agent closers are a lose-lose: "Another trip down memory lane tonight reading the threads around and after he Papelbon signing. Basically everyone hated it but the defense was that he's the most durable guy in the world and we shouldn't worry about decline because he's a robot. Four months in and the same people are fretting over his velocity loss. Of course those arguing vehemently against it (including me) were clamoring for Madson, so it was kind of a lose-lose." - Iceman