With a fastball that would not be uncomfortable on the Autobahn and a splitter that buries itself into the dirt, Papelbon has some of the best stuff in baseball.
Papelbon's numbers are not what they once were. He has a 3.98 ERA over the past two seasons compared to 1.84 for the first five seasons of his career, but he is still saving games for one of baseball's best teams. Despite some struggles, he has only blown one save this season, putting him among baseball's top closers yet again.
What is it that make some pitchers lock into the ninth inning and others feel like they can't get a ball by a Little Leaguer? Jonathan Papelbon spoke with B/R about life as a closer in the major leagues last Friday.