FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For the second time in three outings, Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was knocked around on Thursday, surrendering up four runs to the Mets and turning a near blowout into a much closer 8-5 victory for Boston.
After getting a visit from pitching coach Curt Young earlier in the ninth inning, manager Terry Francona pulled Papelbon after he allowed back-to-back doubles.
The hits haven't been a problem -- he's allowed just three in six outings, the first three of which were perfect one-inning appearances. It's that he can't find the strike zone: He walked two Thursday, giving him five walks and just six outs recorded over his last three appearances.
Papelbon said after Thursday's game that he knows what's going on -- even if he was ambiguous about what exactly that is.
"I still feel very locked in," Papelbon said. "For me right now, I'm just a tick off of my mechanics. I'm not searching. I know exactly what's going on. I can feel it in my delivery. For me, it's not a big deal at all, because I know it's such a minor little detail."
After Papelbon allowed three runs and recorded just one out against the Twins six days ago, he rebounded to throw a perfect inning against the Yankees on Monday. Papelbon said the trouble he had Thursday was rooted in the same trouble he had facing Minnesota.
"He just got out in front, a little quick in his delivery," Francona said. "Everything flattened out a little bit and his fastball sort of wandered."