28 Sep

maxing out

You have to love Jonathan Papelbon’s intensity. The ex-Mississippi State star holds nothing back. From his pre-pitch scowl to his postgame commentary, he is all in all the time. After working 2 1/3 scoreless innings in Boston’s gut-grinding, 14-inning win at New York late Sunday night, Papelbon, defying the baseball gods, declared the Red Sox’s epic September swoon over. “Now we roll,” he said. Well … the BoSox lost the next night and fell into a tie for the American League wild card lead with Tampa Bay. On Tuesday night, Papelbon nailed down his 31st save (in 33 opportunities) in an 8-7 win over Baltimore; he gave up a couple of hits and a run but got the job done. “Only the strong will survive,” Papelbon told reporters after the game. “The weak will fall by the wayside.” Boston faces another pressure-packed game at Baltimore tonight, still tied with the Rays on the last day of the regular season. If he’s needed — and fate says he will be — Papelbon will tromp out there, breathing fire.

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