Jonathan Papelbon is apparently big on fundamentals.
Papelbon, who blew two saves during a three-game set with the Nationals, isn’t pleased with the way the Phillies are playing, and he thinks the struggles can be attributed to recurring mistakes.
“This is a game of fundamentals and we’ve got to do fundamentals right and keep grinding,” Papelbon said, according to CSNPhilly.com. “It’s a game of who grinds the most and who plays the best fundamental baseball. That’s pretty much it.”
That logic seems reasonable. You can have all of the talent in the world, but if you don’t focus and take care of the little things, success is nearly impossible to achieve. Papelbon ended up explaining a little bit further, however, in case you needed some more convincing that fundamentals are important.
“Everything from the pitchers making the correct pitches, to pitchers backing up the right bases, to the outfield moving on counts, to the infield moving on counts. Everything that goes into every pre-pitch. We’ve got to do better,” Papelbon reportedly said.
“I’m not pointing fingers at anyone,” he continued. “It’s a team effort here. To be able to win and be in the forefront of the playoff race, you have to play good fundamental baseball and do the little things, and the little things are before the pitches are thrown. There’s 150 pitches thrown by our pitchers and before every one of those we have to make sure we’re putting ourselves in a position to be the best we can before each pitch.
“I’m seeing some of the same mistakes. I think for us we have to make the fundamental plays were supposed to make.”
Papelbon also questioned Ryan Howard‘s positioning on a big infield hit by Denard Span, but the closer, to his credit, shouldered much of the blame for the Phillies’ extra-inning loss on Wednesday. In fact, he believes that Philadelphia is still very much alive in the playoff race.
Until Philly’s overall results start changing, though, expect Papelbon to keep harping on the little things.