Bill Ladson

Papelbon bears down to lock up Nats' win

Janssen offers praise for new Washington closer's poise

Papelbon bears down to lock up Nats' win

WASHINGTON -- As teammate Casey Janssen put it, Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon has been through the trenches and nothing fazes the right-hander.

Take the ninth inning of Tuesday's 5-4 victory over Arizona: With two outs, D-backs shortstop Nick Ahmed hit what looked like a routine ground ball to third baseman Yunel Escobar. Game over, right? Escobar's throw went over Ryan Zimmerman's head and allowed Jake Lamb to score and make it a one-run game. But Papelbon was unfazed with the tying run on base, getting Cliff Pennington to ground out to end the game. It was Papelbon's 19th save of the season and second with Washington.

"There is no panic. The expression never changes. There is confidence," Janssen said. "Me sitting here watching it [in the clubhouse], I was just as comfortable with him out there. He was going to get [the last out]. That's what he does. I think that's what he expects of himself."

Williams on bullpen, win

Papelbon joined the Nationals a week ago after being acquired from the Phillies in a non-waiver Trade Deadline deal. According to Janssen, Papelbon has already jelled with his new teammates, and along with Janssen and Drew Storen has formed a lethal late-inning punch for opponents.

"He is quite a character. He is fun," Janssen said of Papelbon. "He knows when to turn it on, when to focus. We have a good time down there. We try picking his brain. He tells us stories about stuff that has gone on in his career. He is just a great addition for us."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.