Every morning, we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious high-definition GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back to see if it made it in the Nastiest Pitches of the Season GIF Tournament. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @PitcherList, and we’ll GIF it up and give you a shoutout here in the article.
Joe Kelly‘s Two-Seam Fastball
Kenley Jansen was inconsistent all year and particularly bad in September. Jansen is definitely still the closer, but Joe Kelly looked strong in the ninth last night while striking out the side. He’s creeping over Jansen’s shoulder. Kelly may end up with the higher-leverage opportunities and multiple-inning outings while Jansen is on a short leash for save opportunities. Kelly’s last pitch was a sick Magnus effect spin two-seamer that made Juan Soto hop backward before the ball easily landed over the inside third.
Walker Buehler‘s Four-Seam Fastball
Walker Buehler pitched great as the Game 1 starter and used all of his pitches to keep the Nationals hitters off balance. I could’ve chosen any of Buehler’s five offerings, but this four-seamer is spotted perfectly on the outside corner in a two-strike count at 99 mph. The pitch may be just out of the strike zone—Howie Kendrick certainly thinks so—but it was certainly nasty whether it was truly a ball or a strike. All that matters is the umpire’s judgment in the end, and the zone was consistently pitcher-friendly outside to righties all night.
Giovanny Gallegos‘ Curveball
Giovanny Gallegos was one of the best relievers in baseball in 2019, seemingly out of nowhere. Gallegos’ key weapon is his curveball, and he threw a great one that a great one to strike out Adeiny Hechavarria and get out of a tough jam in the sixth.
Patrick Corbin‘s Slider
Patrick Corbin was the tough-luck loser in Game 1 despite being his typically great self. Corbin has one of the consistently best sliders in the game, and he is great at getting righties to swing over the top of his slider before the ball falls way off the inside corner. A.J. Pollock can attest to the lethality of Corbin’s slider.
Carlos Martinez‘s Changeup
Martinez undoubtedly gave Cardinals fans tremendous anxiety in the ninth after he allowed two homers that cut the lead down to one. Martinez secured the win for the Cardinals by the skin of his teeth, but just because he was ineffective overall doesn’t mean he didn’t mix in some nastiness. This changeup is another pitch that is possibly off the plate, but the movement is still mesmerizing as the ball hones toward the outside black.
Luke Jackson‘s Slider
Luke Jackson throws two pitches very hard—a fastball and a slider—and when your slider has the sharp break that Jackson’s does, those two pitches are enough to be an effective reliever. Jackson started off an at-bat against Matt Carpenter with a beautiful slider at 90 mph that takes a sharp left turn out of the driveway before Carpenter can hold up his swing.
Mark Melancon‘s Knuckle-Curveball
Mark Melancon holds a special place in my heart from his time as a young Yankees minor leaguer during the time I fell in love with baseball and analytics. Melancon is still getting hitters out using primarily his short cutter, but he has increased his breaking ball usage in his advanced years. This knuckle-curve to repeat offender Carpenter is nose to toes, and I think the ball does go through the zone before landing below it in the catcher’s mitt.
Tanner Rainey‘s Slider
Tanner Rainey is another two-pitch reliever who throws extremely hard. Velocity is so common in today’s game when only five to 10 years ago a reliever throwing 100 mph with a good breaking ball was a rarity. Now it seems every team has at least one. Rainey’s issue early in his career is that he walks 17.8% of hitters. If Rainey can find the plate in the playoffs, he may play a big role in a dilapidated Nationals bullpen.
GIF of the Night
Which was your favorite pitch? Vote below, and the winner may be featured in Nastiest Pitches of the Season GIF Tournament.