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Jonathan Papelbon: ‘We have to start finding our identity’

09.18.11 at 9:29 am ET

After the Red Sox‘ 4-3 loss to the Rays Saturday, Jonathan Papelbon explained that, with 11 regular season games remaining, now is the time the Sox must make their move.

“I think every game from here on out we have to start sending messages, not only to other teams but to our own team, and start getting that confidence flow as a team,” the closer said. “If we can do that at the right time, that’s all we can ask for.”

Papelbon also offered another priority for the Red Sox as they head into the last 1 1/2 weeks of the regular season, ahead in the Wild Card race by three games.

“We have to start finding our identity, and the only way we’re going to do that is play one out, one play at a time, and gain confidence with each play,” Papelbon explained. “And if we can find that identity and peak at the right time, we’ll be unstoppable.

Thus far in September, the Red Sox are 4-12, having been out-scored by their opponents, 100-85 while making 15 more errors than the other team (15-7).

The last three times the Red Sox made the postseason, they never experienced losing skids like this one in September. In 2007, they did go through a four-game losing streak in the middle of the month, but finished September at 16-11. In ’08, the Sox’ mark in the regular season’s final month was 16-10, with the team finishing out the ’09 campaign at 15-13, having lost six in a row before closing out the regular season with a four-game win streak.

“I think we’re close,” Papelbon said. “The whole puzzle isn’t put together because we still have 40 guys in here. So, we’ll see.”

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