Philadelphia Phillies reliever Jonathan Papelbon had just saved his fourth straight game since blowing his first save opportunity of the season April 2 in Texas. Thursday's scoreless inning in the Phils' 1-0 win over Atlanta gave him his fifth consecutive scoreless inning.
So you'd think the 33-year-old closer would be excited to talk about the adjustments he made and how his troubles are behind him.
He spoke for just shy of four minutes postgame in the locker room before he promptly lifted his leg and broke wind while being asked a question.
Papelbon was unfazed by his bodily function and smoothly continued until he was asked if there is a difference when he's throwing a bit harder, like he was Thursday, consistently topping out at 93 mph.
It's a fair question since his velocity has been dropping each of the past couple of years and was still low during his first few starts this year.
He didn't think so.
"Why do you guys care about 'velo' so much man?" asked Papelbon. "Is that - does that matter? You think that matters? I don't understand that. I mean, if a ball has life at the plate and you are throwing 88 miles an hour as opposed to 98 miles an hour, it doesn't make one damn bit of difference. Whether you throw 93 or 94 or 84. I just, I don't get it man."
He continued to rant before walking away.
"You all killed Roy [Halladay] about 'velo,' " Papelbon said. "It's not a big deal. If you do your job and the ball is coming out of your hand, it doesn't matter how hard you are throwing. [Alex Wood] over there - what was he throwing, high 80s-low 90s? How well did he pitch? He ran through our lineup for the first eight innings basically. But it had life at the plate. That's all that really matters, man. End of story."
One could make the argument that it does matter. Yes movement and location are most important for a pitcher, but speed is crucial for closers. Especially when batters hit 184 points better against him when he's throwing 92 mph or lower versus when he's hitting 95 mph or higher.