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We asked for Jonathan Papelbon in a non-save situation, and we got him. And instead of his usual excellence, we get a loss, courtesy of the first major league home run of the heroically named Jordany Valdespin. In light of our collective recent griping about how Charlie Manuel’s refusal to use his best reliever in the biggest situations, I think some comment on the issue is appropriate. I toyed with writing a serious response, some sort of reassurance that having Papelbon pitch was the right move, regardless of the result. But that would just come off as overly defensive.
I also thought about writing a sarcastic, OH YOU GUYS WERE RIGHT ALL ALONG response, dealing with a gut punch loss in best Crashburn tradition: with imperious sarcasm.
In the end, I’m just going to post the FanGraphs win probability chart (-.468 WPA for Sentimental Johnny, by the way):
And this GIF, which accurately captures the effect of that Valdespin homer on our collective psyche:
Strength through unity, unity through faith. And, as always, England prevails.