It did not matter to Charlie Manuel that his closer, Jonathan Papelbon, voiced his displeasure at the Phillies' fundamentals after Wednesday's loss. The manager heard the comments. Everyone, he said, is entitled to their opinion.
In fact, Manuel shares it.
"I've been talking about fundamentals for two years," Manuel said Friday.
Papelbon was irked following a 6-2 loss Wednesday to Washington. He blew the save in the ninth. The first batter, Denard Span, reached on an infield single that was misplayed. Ryan Howard was even with the bag because Span can bunt. (He has one bunt hit in 2013 and accumulated eight in 2012.)
The ball skipped past him and to Freddy Galvis, who fired low to Papelbon at first.
"It's just like everything; everyone wants to voice their opinion," Manuel said. "Howard was in the right place. I don't know if you guys have a memory, but I've been talking about fundamentals for two years very strongly."
A few hours before Friday's game, Manuel said he had not yet spoken to Papelbon about his comments.
"I will," Manuel said. "I’m not afraid to. What do you think, I’m scared of him?"
Papelbon said he thought Howard would be positioned further back with a 3-1 count to Span.
"It is everything from pitchers making the correct pitches, pitchers backing up correct bases, outfielders moving on counts, infielders moving on counts," Papelbon said. "Everything that goes into every pre-pitch, we've got to do better."
Howard has lost a step in the field following his Achilles injury and subsequent knee problems. Manuel could not say how much Howard's mobility has been affected by those ailments.
"Bottom line was he didn't make it," Manuel said. "He was trying to make it, but he didn't."
And that spawned criticism from various sources, including the closer.
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