CHICAGO -- Jonathan Papelbon's fastball never hit more than 91 mph in the ninth inning Saturday at Wrigley Field, but he threw a clean inning to pick up his first save of the season and bury the nightmare of Wednesday's blown save in Texas.
"This is what I chose to do," he said following the 2-0 victory over the Cubs. "I take the ups with the downs. For some reason I enjoy it. I don't know why. It's a roller coaster ride. I liked Space Mountain as a kid, you know what I'm saying?"
Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said Wednesday that Papelbon needed to mix his pitches better, which he said was addressed in between appearances. He said he noticed some improvement Saturday.
It will be important moving forward. In the past, Papelbon could rear back and blow a 95-mph fastball past hitters.
"I think I need to do more pitching," Papelbon acknowledged. "If that's what that means, yeah. The longer and longer I pitch I think the more and more I learn, so sometimes I need to be a pitcher more than a thrower. I get into that mode sometimes, just going out there and throw it by guys or throw a pitch without a certain intent.
"You know, as the season goes on, hopefully my velo will be able to increase. I think everybody usually hits their peak around June. But right now I'm going to focus on just pitching."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Joe Popely is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less