Out of loyalty, Jim Fregosi rode Mitch Williams as far as he could in 1993. That turned out to be Game 6 of the World Series.
Out of loyalty, Charlie Manuel continues to ride Jonathan Papelbon, 20 years later. All that has meant is that the Phillies have been in free fall.
Papelbon was fine Saturday, pitching one crisp, two-strikeout inning in the Phillies' 5-4, 12-inning loss to the Atlanta Braves. But it is already too late.
Fregosi, on site to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1993 N.L. championship, has empathy for Manuel, for if anyone knows the risks of calling a closer in from the bullpen, he would be the man.
“When you are supposed to win games
and you are supposed to win a lot of them, a closer will stay sharp,”
Fregosi said. “A lot of
times when a team becomes inconsistent, the closer will be
inconsistent because he is not getting the adrenaline flow on a daily
or an every-couple-days basis. And a lot of times, I think that
affects how a closer does.”
Different managers, different situations, different times.
Check out my column on Fregosi and how he remembers the 1993 season fondly, Joe Carter notwithstanding, in the Daily Times Sunday and, as always, on delcotimes.com