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.
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Luis Castillo‘s Changeup
Luis Castillo was ready to go yesterday and came out with near triple digits gas to show it. Off that gas, Castillo threw the pitch that makes him a star, the changeup. The changeup is that much better because hitters like Miguel Cabrera have to speed up their reactions in anticipation of Castillo’s flames. It’s a lethal combination. Poor Miggy.
Taijuan Walker‘s Slider
Hearing the name Taijuan Walker feels like a blast from the past, but Walker is still only 27 years old. Walker is finally healthy and has a great opportunity in a spotty Mariners’ rotation. Yesterday, he allowed only one hit over seven innings, showing encouraging signs that he may still be capable of reaching his early potential.
Mike Clevinger‘s Curveball
Mike Clevinger was my pick to elevate his performance and claim the top of the rotation in Cleveland left open by the departures of Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer. In the early goings of weird baseball, Cleveland’s rotation has been led by Shane Bieber, and Clevinger has been relatively hittable compared to his other rotation mates, Aaron Civale and Zach Plesac. I wouldn’t worry about him, though. While he was hit around yesterday he still showed swing-and-miss stuff like this breaking ball to Marwin Gonzalez.
Lance McCullers‘ Sinker
Lance McCullers didn’t end up with a pretty line last night, but between some hard-hit balls one of each of McCullers’ different pitches could have ended up in Nastiest Pitches today. His changeup had a precipitous drop and his knuckle-curve was sharp. McCullers’ prettiest pitch was his sinker, though, which didn’t have a drastic vertical break but moved into the strike zone with a sharp lateral break. The sinker above is an impressive pitch in a big spot in the game.
Garrett Richards‘ Slider
Garrett Richards‘ curveball has already been featured in Nastiest Pitches this season, but his lesser-known slider is also a very GIF-able pitch. Richards throws the slider hard with good tilt that helps him miss bats with the pitch.
Joe Kelly‘s Knuckle-Curve
Joe Kelly had a lot less drama in this outing, but his pitching was probably better for it than it was his last appearance against the league villain Astros. Kelly has always had a quick and loose arm that allows him to show nastiness beyond his apparent physical stature. This breaking ball to David Peralta is spotted perfectly on the inside corner.
Zac Gallen‘s Changeup
Gallen passed a big test yesterday with flying colors against the vaunted Dodgers lineup. He had command of both his changeup and curveball which helped him get swings and misses against hitters on both sides of the plate. This pitch to Cody Bellinger has plus fade that makes it disappear from Bellinger’s foolish stroke.
Yu Darvish‘s Sinker
This pitch from Yu Darvish is well spotted with a high velocity, but what’s most mesmerizing to me about the GIF is Darvish’s transition from his slow leg kick to the explosive push he makes toward the plate. A little exuberance from Yu at the end is nice to see as well. (h/t to PL+ member Alex Tran.)
Spencer Turnbull‘s Slider
Nick has noted that Turnbull has been more effective when he throws his two-seam fastball less. The four-seamer helps his breaking stuff play up more. Turnbull’s breaking stuff was never his problem. He has a plus curveball and also shows a nice slider like this one to Nick Senzel. Bend the knee, rook. (Another h/t to PL+ member Alex Tran)
Andre Scrubb’s Curveball
Thrust into a role larger than expected in the injury-ravaged Astros bullpen, Andre Scrubb has pitched well in the early goings. Scrubb seems to hide the ball well and I love the aesthetics of his 12-6 curveball. The donk on him is ridiculous, too.
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.