The first one was measured at 96.5 mph by Major League Baseball's PITCHf/x system. The next one, 97.2 mph. The third clocked at a blistering 98.4 mph.
Where did that come from?
"I don't know," Rodriguez said. The Dominican pitcher smiled.
This game rewards velocity, especially velocity with location. Rodriguez, so far, has displayed that. He is making a fine case to be retained this winter on the 40-man roster, nine months after the Phillies removed him from it. Rodriguez's 95.7-mph average fastball ranks ninth among all lefties who have thrown a pitch in 2016.
"I don't want to get overly excited," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said, "but it is a good impression he has made."
Correct. This is September, when results are often skewed by expanded rosters and success is muddled. The Phillies, though, have lacked effective lefthanded relief all season. If they have unearthed an internal candidate to fill that job in 2017, it is a bonus. Entrusted with the eighth inning of a two-run game Thursday at Citi Field, Rodriguez needed just 12 pitches to record three outs.
Rodriguez came to the Phillies from Pittsburgh in the Antonio Bastardo trade. He did not develop as a starter, so the Phillies moved him to the bullpen. He gained velocity with that switch.
But the speed, Rodriguez said, came with other benefits.
"I'm more confident with my fastball and its location," Rodriguez said. "I have seen more results this year with it."
Rodriguez was just the second Phillies lefthander to throw a pitch faster than 98 mph since 2008, when Major League Baseball began tracking detailed pitch statistics. Jake Diekman threw 250 fastballs 98 mph or harder with the Phillies. They both, oddly enough, wore No. 63 for the Phillies.
Mackanin will look to test Rodriguez in the final 10 games.
"He has nasty stuff and he could get righties out," Mackanin said. "That last pitch he threw was filthy."
Tyler Goeddel got a diagnosis of a concussion, Mackanin said, after being struck in the head by a 93-mph fastball. The rookie outfielder did not travel to New York with the Phillies, but he is expected to rejoin the team this weekend and will be placed in the league's concussion protocol. . . . The Mets had hoped to start lefthander Steven Matz on Friday, but shoulder problems will prevent him from pitching again. Righthander Gabriel Ynoa will go instead, against Jeremy Hellickson.