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Two issues with last night's walkoff loss in Texas, the second night in a row the Phillies came up on the short end of a walkoff.
The first issue is obviously Jonathan Papelbon. Putting inflated salary aside, he's simply nothing close to resembling a shutdown closer to finish last season and begin the 2014 campaign. Seven of the eighth batters Papelbon faced reached base. The walkoff walk seemed like a foregone conclusion before the at-bat even started.
And the other thing that had me scratching my head was the positioning of the infield in the bottom of the ninth when a double play would have ended it. Instead Leonys Martin singled up the middle to tie the game with one out.
Jonathan Papelbon was scratching his head too.
But, later, Papelbon was perturbed at his teammates' defensive alignment. He said McClure visited the mound and said, "OK, let's get a ground ball." Bench coach Larry Bowa signaled for "three" depth, which meant the priority for the infielders was eliminating the runner at third on a grounder, but a double play was still possible because the infield was not completely brought in.
"Obviously I don't know whether that's called for the bench or called from the middle infielders, but less than two outs I'm thinking ground ball and I'm thinking let's get this double play and go home," Papelbon said. "Obviously I'm not going to second-guess my teammates or my coach."
You can watch the play in question here.
So instead of wrapping up a nice winning series in Texas and enjoying an off-day in Chicago before taking on the Cubs for a weekend set, the Phils have to sit for a day an a half with the sour taste of a losing record.
Kyle Kendrick put in work and the Big Piece went real deep but all was for naught after the bottom of the ninth.
It's only been three games and that feeling that it's going to be one of those seasons is starting to appear.
Jose Mesa had an 86.8% success rate as #Phillies closer. Jonathan Papelbon has an 84.8% mark as Phils closer.
— Jay Floyd (@PhoulBallz) April 3, 2014
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