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Papelbon is All-Star worthy, says Phils skipper

ATLANTA -- The Phillies entered Saturday on pace for 109 losses, which means Jonathan Papelbon has not been a particularly busy closer this season.

But when he has pitched, he has pitched well.

Papelbon entered Saturday 1-1 with a 1.71 ERA and 14 saves in 14 opportunities over 30 appearances. His ERA was 20th out of 130 qualified relievers in baseball. His 4.86 strikeout-to-walk ratio was tied for 27th and his 1.04 WHIP was 48th. Those numbers are why Papelbon figures to be the Phillies' lone representative for the National League All-Star team.

"Papelbon, probably," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said Saturday at Turner Field, asked for the Phillies' most worthy All-Star choice. "His save numbers aren't there, but when you look at the other numbers, he's been very efficient. He's the first guy that comes to mind."

The AL and NL All-Star teams' starters will be announced Sunday, with the pitchers and reserves announced Monday.

"He gets it," Mackanin said of Papelbon's lack of work this season. "He wants to get 45, 50 saves if he can, but he's been great. He's been asked to pitch in losing situations to get some work. The other day we double-switched to keep him in the game because we needed it. No problem. He's always ready. I know he's got his issues, but at the same time when he goes out there, he competes well and he knows what he's doing. You can't ask for more. ... Well, you can ask for more than that, but he's been fine."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
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