And then there was this:
Jonathan Papelbon's fastball is once again exploding into the catchers' mitt, and that is leaving the closer with a pretty good feeling.
Papelbon fired a scoreless inning in Saturday's 11-2 loss to the Marlins, and the righty hasn't given up a run in his first three Grapefruit League outings.
"The biggest thing I'm pleased with is my fastball right now," Papelbon said. "It's got that late life to it, which is always a plus for me. I've been able to go out there and throw my slider and split just as much, which has been a key for me, because it's something I'm going to definitely be able to do this year. Both of those pitches feel really well."
(Ian Browne, "Papelbon's Fastball has finish")
I went back and watched the video, but it only shows the outs, and the one swing and miss looks to be on a split (which is also great, but it's not showing me this signature Papelbon fastball).
Reviewing the inning on DVR, it seems mostly to consist of Paps working on his split and slider, though Heidi Watney and Jerry Remy, along with an interview spliced in from Terry Francona, continue with the fastball theme. On pitch 12 of the inning, though, you could see it -- it seemed to come in high, loop around, then find the glove...while skidding backwards at the end of its run, as if it had backspin on it. And it has been a while, you realize watching that pitch come in, since we've seen it.
But to paraphrase the now-defunct Papel-blog, watching Paps strike a bitch out really does do wonders for my health and well-being. It has been a long couple of years of the honeymoon being over between the fan base and Papelbon, but I, for one, am open to re-kindling the romance.