Every morning, the We Love Baseball crew reviews the Nastiest Pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious high-definition GIFs. We want to bring you the highest caliber of nastiness possible, so if you see a nasty pitch, please tell us about it. You can tweet @PitcherList to let us know and we’ll give you a shout-out here in the article if your tip makes the cut.
As a bonus for PL+ members, let us know about a pitch on the PL+ Discord in the Nasty Pitches Channel, and if your suggestion is included the next day, you’ll be entered into a weekly drawing for a free T-shirt!
Daniel Bard’s Fastball
I am so, so happy that Daniel Bard has returned to the majors and earned his first win in over seven years. The story about his yips has been well documented in the past week or so, but as a Red Sox fan who saw his rise (and his demise), it’s especially sweet seeing him pump this 99 MPH cheese right past Rougned Odor after such a long hiatus. This GIF was ten years in the making, and the sight of him delivering the heat after all of these years is bringing back all of the feels. Hats off to you, Daniel Bard.
Max Fried’s Curveball
There’s nothing in sports quite like a slow lefty curveball. It’s an incredibly difficult action to master, and those that can master it still have to locate it effectively for it to get outs. As Pete Alonso has found out over the last two years, Max Fried in fact gets a lot of outs with his deadly curveball. The pitch had a 41.4% strikeout rate and a .212 average against in 2019, and from the looks of it he’s going to get a whole lot more outs in 2020. This Braves team is going to be a fun one to watch all season long, and I’m sure Max Fried will end up in Nastiest Pitches again at some point in the near future.
Jesus Luzardo’s Fastball
Jesus Luzardo came out of the bullpen in this one, striking out two while only allowing two baserunners in three innings. Justin Upton hit a solo shot earlier in the game but he was quickly told to sit down after whiffing at this 98 MPH fastball. Luzardo should be a weapon for the A’s whether he’s starting or coming out of the bullpen this season, though I would expect him to at least get a few starts as either an injury replacement or just for fun. However it has to happen, I hope it happens soon because he’s a ton of fun to watch on the mound.
Dellin Betances‘ Knuckle-Curveball
Down 2-1 in the top of the 8th, Dansby Swanson swung for the fences on what he thought was a 3-2 fastball. Unfortunately for him it was a knuckle-curve, and Dellin Betances struck him out instead on a pitch that was super nasty. Betances missed most of last season with an Achilles injury, and many people (myself included) forgot he moved across the city to the Mets for the 2020 season. As long as he’s dealing filth like this, expect Dellin Betances to throw a lot of high leverage innings as the setup man in front of closer Edwin Diaz. (H/T to PL Staffer Callen Eslager)
Corbin Burnes‘ Cutter
It was a lot of fun talking baseball with Nick, Michael Ajeto, and other members of our Discord channel while we all watched the first game of the day featuring two of our favorite pitchers. If you’re not already a PL+ member you’re really missing out – the first few innings were a roller coaster of emotions for those of us invested in either Corbin Burnes or Yu Darvish. Both flashed brilliance at times while also looking mediocre at other times. We’ll get to Darvish in a moment, but first we have to appreciate this sick pitch on the edge of the zone from Burnes to strike out Kyle Schwarber. While it wasn’t the breakout we were all hoping for, Corbin Burnes showed enough good things to keep us interested. (H/T to some guy named Nick Pollack)
Richard Bleier’s Slider
This slider from Richard Bleier had a ton of horizontal movement on it, as did Jackie Bradley Jr.’s bat as it flew all the way to the first baseman. This GIF honestly symbolizes the entire game – the Orioles beat up on the Red Sox all day while making them look absolutely silly in the process. There really isn’t much else to say about it, other than this pitch is straight-up disgusting and Richard Bleier has a new career highlight. (H/T to PL + member Shafiq)
Yu Darvish’s Splitter
Wait, this is a splitter? Are we sure about that? Seriously though, what the heck is this thing? Is this pitch “The Supreme” that Darvish supposedly added to his repertoire in the offseason? Why so many questions? The pitch started off looking like it was a meatball headed right down the middle before almost hitting Avisail Garcia in a spot that would not have felt very good. I hope this was “the supreme”, and I hope we get to see it a lot more often this season. And I hope the name sticks, because “the supreme” is a dope name for a dope pitch.
Luis Castillo’s Changeup
Luis Castillo’s changeup is a masterpiece. I liken it to a perfectly cooked marshmallow that’s golden brown and melted in the middle. When you complement it with a piece of chocolate and a graham cracker you have a delicious, tasty treat. Castillo’s changeup is the perfect complement to his fastball and his slider. In this analogy, the fastball is the graham cracker (it’s solid but unspectacular) and the slider is the chocolate (it’s sweet and irresistable). Can I get S’more Luis Castillo changeup GIFs, please?
Brady Singer’s Two-Seam Fastball
Brady Singer made his big league debut today and you can read all about it in Nick’s GIF Breakdown. Singer threw a ton of sliders in this one, but it was this two-seam fastball that completely froze Daniel Johnson in his tracks. That’s a major league pitch right there, and I think we’re all looking forward to seeing what Singer can do his next time out against another potent offense in the White Sox.
Caleb Smith’s Slider
Caleb Smith didn’t have his command on Saturday, issuing six walks along with his measly three strikeouts, but this pitch to strike out Andrew McCutchen was a beauty. The six free passes is a tough pill to swallow, especially when it’s already difficult enough facing the loaded Phillies offense. This outing wasn’t what Caleb Smith or his fantasy managers were hoping for from his first start of the year, but with a date in Baltimore next Thursday we should see a big bounce-back outing from the crafty lefty.
Mike Clevinger’s Slider
Magic Mike Clevinger would have toe tapped his way to a victory had it not been for Brady Singer’s successful debut. Clevinger went seven strong innings, giving up only four hits while striking out six, but the two home runs he gave up immediately after this strikeout of Whit Merrifield are what kept him out of the winner’s circle on Saturday. It was still a fantastic performance for the Indians and anyone who rosters him, but be wary of a tough start in Minnesota next time out.
GIF of the Night
Which was your favorite pitch? Vote below, and the winner may be featured in our Nastiest Pitches tournament midway through the season.