Believe it or not, this season’s first portion of interleague baseball is set to begin on Friday. For the Red Sox, interleague play this year consists of a three-game weekend series against the Philadelphia Phillies — that means the possibility of facing former closer Jonathan Papelbon.
So how is Papelbon doing sporting the Phillies red? He is 0-1 in 15 appearances with an 2.40 ERA and is 10-for-10 in save opportunities. He is enjoying his time in Philadelphia and says he enjoys the environment more than Boston — what he calls "the other city."
Red Sox fans remember the good and bad times Papelbon had during his tenure with Boston. He represented the Red Sox on the AL All-Star team from 2006-09, earning the win in 2009. He won the AL Rookie of the Year in 2006 when he was 4-2 with an ERA under 1.00 and saved 35 games. His season high in saves was in 2008 when he converted 41. He left the Sox as the franchise's all-time leader in saves with 219.
Fans remember him for his 1-2-3 lights-out pitching in the ninth inning, entering a game to "Shipping Up to Boston" and his routine fist bump with the Boston Police officer as he made his way to the mound from the bullpen. They will always remember his high third strike to then Colorado Rockies pinch-hitter Seth Smith that secured the final out of the 2007 World Series.
In his Red Sox prime, there was no need to be at the edge of your seat when he came in. As he got older, he became more unreliable and people were not as confident when he came into games. In the last inning of what would be their final game of the season against the Baltimore Orioles, Robert Andino lined an RBI-single to left field that scored the walk-off run giving Papelbon the loss and the blown save. That was his final pitch with the Red Sox.