05/08/2013 6:51 PM ET
Papelbon can't explain velocity variance
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- The numbers are impressive.
Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon has a 1.38 ERA and five saves in 13 appearances this season. He has allowed just five hits, two runs and one walk and struck out eight in 13 innings. He would have a few more saves, except the Phillies have added a few insurance runs in the late innings recently.
Interestingly, Papelbon is pitching with success with less velocity than he has had in the past.
According to pitch f/x data, Papelbon's fastball is averaging 92.87 mph this season. It averaged 94.56 mph in 2012, 95.76 mph in 2011 and 95.66 mph in 2010. Some of that is attributable to the early part of the season. Papelbon's velocity over the previous three seasons averaged 0.88 mph slower in April than at the end of the year.
"I don't [know why], man," Papelbon said. "I have no idea."
Papelbon said he is healthy, and his results certainly would indicate that. It could be nothing, but it is worth noting because of his importance to the team and the fact he has $26 million remaining on his contract following this season.
"I think all pitchers don't really start tipping the scale, so to speak, until a couple months into the season," Papelbon said. "You've got me, man. I don't know. Tell [others asking] I don't know, either."
Manuel tied atop list of games managed for Phillies
SAN FRANCISCO -- Nobody knows what will happen to Charlie Manuel following this season, but if he leaves, he will leave the most successful manager in Phillies history.
He managed his 1,331st game with the Phillies on Wednesday, moving him into a first-place tie with Gene Mauch for the most in franchise history. Manuel will pass Mauch with Thursday's game against the D-backs in Phoenix.
Manuel is one of only two managers to lead the Phillies to a World Series championship. His 743 victories with the Phillies also are the most in franchise history.
Cancer survivor named Phillies' honorary bat girl
SAN FRANCISCO -- Mother's Day in Major League Baseball is a reminder of a worthy cause. On Sunday, the league will celebrate the day by raising awareness for breast cancer.
On Wednesday, Major League Baseball announced the winners of the 2013 Honorary Bat Girl Contest, selecting Tami Perrin as the Phillies' honorary bat girl. The honorary bat girls will be celebrated in 15 parks Sunday and the remainder at a future home game.
The contest recognizes baseball fans who have been "affected most by breast cancer and demonstrated a commitment to eradicating the disease."
Perrin, 36, is a breast-cancer survivor, going through eight rounds of chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy and six weeks of radiation. She said she has been cancer-free since Aug. 6.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.