Mets hit Papelbon again (and again and again)

The Mets’ furious rally against Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning Thursday was just the latest in a string of successes versus Papelbon dating back to 2009, when he was closing out games for the Red Sox. Remember these?

The date: May 23, 2009
The hero: Omir Santos
The situation: Coming off a disastrous trip to Los Angeles and battling injuries to key players including Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Ryan Church and Francisco Rodriguez, the Mets found themselves trailing the Red Sox by a run in the ninth. But with a man on base, Santos hit a line drive off Papelbon that clanged off Fenway Park’s Green Monster for an apparent double. Umpires reviewed the play and minutes later, called it a homer. J.J. Putz mowed down the Sox in the bottom of the ninth to close out the victory.
The quote: “A lot of things were going through my mind. I knew I hit it well. If it was going to be the big hit of the game? I couldn’t even express how I was feeling at second base, waiting for the call.” –Santos

The date: May 7, 2012
The hero: Jordany Valdespin
The situation: Valdespin began his Mets career 0-for-6, looking overly aggressive and lost at the plate. But with two men on base in a tie game in the ninth, Valdespin walloped a Papelbon fastball into right-center field for a game-winning homer. After Frank Francisco closed out the Phillies in the ninth, Valdespin’s teammates soaked him with beer in a postgame celebration.
The quote: “He is an extremely talented young player. He’s just so athletic. I know that he’ll handle himself great. If he plays the way he’s been playing since he’s been here, and the way he’s handled himself, he’s got a chance to be here for a while.” –Mets manager Terry Collins

The date: July 5, 2012
The hero: David Wright
The situation: It may not actually be fair to call Wright the hero in this one. Ike Davis set up the winning rally by doubling off Papelbon to lead off the ninth, with the Mets trailing by a run. Then, with two outs, Valdespin, Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy all submitted tremendous at-bats, fouling off pitches and taking others for balls. After Papelbon plunked Valdespin and walked Tejada, Murphy hit a game-tying single off Papelbon’s glove. Wright then ended things with a bloop single to right.
The quote: “I had the worst at-bat out of everybody in that inning. More lucky than anything, but I was glad to get the opportunity because the guys in front of me had some incredible at-bats.” –Wright

In case you were wondering, Papelbon has now faced the Mets eight times in his career. The numbers: 0-3, 1 save, 2 blown saves, 7.0 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 9.00 ERA.

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo

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