Balfour plans to keep throwing heater
Rays reliever blames Game 5 struggles on location
ST. PETERSBURG -- Grant Balfour has been relying heavily on the fastball, and while it might appear that his reliance on the heater had something to do with his less-than-stellar outing against the Red Sox in Game 5, Balfour and Rays manager Joe Maddon think otherwise.
Balfour throwing mostly fastballs hardly came as news to Maddon. He even smiled and noted that it is not unusual for someone who throws 96 mph to rely primarily on his fastball.
"Everybody knows he's going to throw a fastball every time," Maddon said. "It's like [Red Sox closer Jonathan] Papelbon. The suggestion is he's going all fastball. And if you look at his regular season numbers, what was wrong with that?
"His numbers, if you had him on your fantasy team, you're really happy. They're really good numbers, they're sick good -- the batting average against, the OPS. He's given up four [home runs] to righties and [the home run to David Ortiz] was the first one against lefties all year. Batting average against lefties was .125."
Balfour said throwing mostly fastballs is nothing new.
"I've been doing it for a while," Balfour said. "I just think they're making a big thing of it since it's the postseason and everything just gets magnified. I had a bad outing and I'm not going to deny that. ... I was throwing the ball 96, 97 mph. I felt good. Maybe I was missing my spots a little more."
Despite that outing, Balfour looks forward to the next time he's on the mound.
"Runner on second and third tonight with none out, I want to be the guy to get in there," Balfour said. "I want to get them out. I want to be the guy who doesn't let them score.
"Some days, it's going to work out. Some days, it doesn't. I've been pretty good this year. Most days, it's worked out. The other day, it didn't. I'm angry at myself about that, but that's over with. Now it's a new day."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.