PHIALDELPHIA -- Jonathan Papelbon not only caught some attention for blowing his second save in three tries Wednesday, but also for what he said afterward.
Papelbon, who is in his second season as the Phillies' closer, stressed fundamentals after the loss. Papelbon said that he was surprised with how far in first baseman Ryan Howard was when he was facing the Nationals' Denard Span to start the ninth. Span singled past Howard on a playable ball and went on to score the tying run. The Nationals beat the Phillies, 6-2.
After an off-day on Thursday, manager Charlie Manuel was asked about his closer's comments before Friday's opener vs. the Mets. Manuel said that he is someone who has always stressed fundamentals, and he thought Howard was in a good position because Span is always a threat to lay down a bunt.
"Although the count was 3-1, Span is a bunter and he likes to bunt," Manuel said. "And he also likes to bunt against us, if you follow baseball. Howard was up in the right spot."
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.