PHILADELPHIA – Former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon often fell into his “Cinco-Ocho” character as he addressed the Boston and Philadelphia media this afternoon, but he hoped he would pitch all three games of the series against his former team.
Asked whether it would be strange to face his old team he said, “I don’t think it will be. Just gonna go out there and let Cinco take over man. “I’m not worried about it. I think I’ve been looking forward to this series from the day I signed here.”
“I think facing old teammates, and having bragging rights. It’s like you play with your brother in the backyard and for so many years. You want to have the bragging rights. I don’t want to have to hear it from (Dustin) Pedroia, I want to be giving it to him. It’ll be fun,” Papelbon said.
Asked whether he needs any extra motivation he said, “I don’t need extra motivation. You should know that by now. Cinco always has the advantage. Whatever he does. He doesn’t know how he do, he just do. Never under-estimate Cinco-Ocho. It’s 10-1 odds, don’t ever bet against him.”
Papelbon, in speaking about his years in Boston said, “I’m proud of the championships we won there and being part of an organization I felt like taught me how to play in the big leagues. I’m proud of playing for a manager like Tito (Francona), who taught me how to be a man and accept winning from A- to Z . I could talk all day about it. For me, it’s a lot of memories and a lot of good people that surrounded me.”
Did he know why the Red Sox didn’t offer a contract?
“You asking me that question? I don’t know that answer.”
Concerning the differences between the city of Philadelphia and Boston and the American League vs. the National League, Papelbon who is 11-for-11 in saves this season said, “The city for me…it’s obviously different getting around and stuff like that. I sit and talk to Mick (Billmeyer) in the bullpen a lot about differences. I’ve probably asked him a bunch of dumb questions. I never paid much attention to the National League when I was in the American league.
“I have a state education so I’m not too bright. So I really tried to follow my man Mick in the bullpen,” Papelbon said.
“The biggest difference is the way the game is played. I’m home in 2-1/2 hours. In Boston I’m pitching at midnight. I can’t tell you how many times I was at Fenway and saw 12:02 or 12:03 (a.m.). These guys asked me how’d you pitch last night, and I said I didn’t pitch last night, I pitched today.”
Of course he added to that with his slow delivery.
“I’ve had a few fines in my day,” he said.
He was asked whether he thought Daniel Bard would be his successor.
“Yeah for sure. I did think that. But like I said this offseason about Bard, the guy can do anything he wants and he’s proven that. He’s taken off now. He’s got a good future ahead of him as a starter.”
On Alfredo Aceves: “Alfredo was a huge addition to our bullpen last year. He started. He closed (meant relieved). He had a tough gig. Now that he knows he’s in that role he can feel more comfortable. He’s gaining confidence every time he goes out there. He’s done a pretty good job in my opinion.
What matchup is he looking most forward to?
“Big sloppy (David Ortiz). That’s my man. Is he playing tonight?" Reporters answer no. "I knew he wouldn’t,” Papelbon said.
Why is he a challenge?
“Just the fact that if he gets me, I won’t ever be able to say nothing to him; if I get him I’ll always be able to say something to him. That’s just the way it is.”
After losing 30 pounds, still think he’s Big Sloppy?
“Oh, he’s not Big Sloppy anymore? He looks good, real good.”
Papelbon said he sees a lot of similarities between the two teams.
“Two pretty good pitching staffs and good lineups. I think there are going to be some good games this weekend. I’m looking forward to being in there three times in a row.”
Asked if he will feel any pressure?
“No. Cinco don’t feel that kind of pressure. He’s got ice in his veins.”
What if the series was in Boston?
“He’d probably like it more, “ he said of Cinco, “That’s just how it is, you know.”
And the reception he would get at Fenway?
“I think Pap will get a real good reception. Cinco, I don’t know what kind of reception.”
Papelbon said that none of his current teammates have asked him his opinion on Boston’s pitchers.