The Phillies declared last week that Jonathan Papelbon was not available. Don’t believe it. Papelbon didn’t do himself any favors when he scolded teammates, saying, “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 we’re supposed to make.”
With his third blown save of the season, and week for that matter, yesterday, you have to wonder if some of the trade talk is wearing on Papelbon. At the same time, it is refreshing to know that outside the Phillies’ bubble, others believe that Papelbon would be available should the Phillies fall out of contention. Entering today, the Phillies are 6.5 games out, the closest they have been since May 29 when they were 5.5 games out after a win at home against Boston.