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!
Max Fried’s Curveball
Max Fried was locked in from the get-go on Thursday, dotting the corners with one nasty breaker after another all night long. He was perfect through the first 4 2/3 innings and honestly, it felt like a perfect game was imminent until a grounder up the middle broke it up (who he then picked off to end the inning). He was seriously that good. He got into a little trouble in the 6th, curiously right after he reared back for a 2-2 fastball that hit 99 (!!) MPH on the gun, but he got out of the inning unscathed. This was a really fun start to watch and I can’t wait to see if he’s got the same stuff rolling next time out against Toronto. (H/T PL+ member Eric Wolfe)
Kevin Gausman’s Splitter
Kevin Gausman wasn’t spectacular Thursday night, but he did just enough to give the Giants a chance to win. While he gave up three earned runs on six hits, he did strike out eight in his 4 1/3 IP and generated a CSW of 44%. Five of his strikeouts came by way of the splitter, and despite missing his spot on this one the movement was still nasty enough to fool Trent Grisham. Welcome to the bigs, kid.
Hyun Jin Ryu’s Curveball
Adam Eaton has been solid to start the season but he looked absolutely silly swinging at this pitch from Hyun Jin Ryu. The crafty lefty didn’t have his best stuff on Thursday, allowing five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings, and he gave up an absolute moonshot to Michael A. Taylor that traveled 427 feet in the 4th inning. It’s been a tough start to the season for Ryu, mainly due to his four-seamer and sinker getting absolutely pounded inside the zone. Thankfully we still have this beautiful breaker to watch when times are tough.
Shane Bieber’s Knuckle-Curve
Shane Bieber had another spectacular performance last night, striking out 13 in total and six on the knuckle-curve alone. He dominated the mighty Twins lineup top to bottom for eight straight innings, generating a whopping 22 whiffs and 39% CSW. This pitch resulted in the first of Josh Donaldson‘s three strikeouts, each one just as nasty as the last. Bieber is en fuego. (H/T PL+ member Shwebsi)
Adam Ottavino’s Slider
Adam Ottavino‘s slider is one of the nastiest pitches in all of baseball, and whenever he makes an appearance there’s a very good chance he throws one or two of these unhittable breakers. Sure enough, he threw two gravity-defying sliders on Thursday night that qualified for our purposes, with this one being the best of the two. On a windy night in Baltimore, Adam Ottavino and his lethal slider is the last thing I would want to see coming out of the bullpen if I were an Orioles hitter.
Mark Melancon’s Knuckle-Curve
Mark Melancon pitched a clean ninth inning to earn the save last night, ensuring that Max Fried got the win that he deserved. Hunter Renfroe, on the other hand, struggled along with the rest of the Rays lineup all night long. Hunter, I swear I didn’t mean to feature both of your strikeouts in this space. It just happened to work out that way. Forgive me?
Dinelson Lamet’s Slider
Dinelson Lamet struck out seven on the night but his four walks allowed killed any chances he had of lasting deep in this game. 91 pitches in five innings is not good, but I don’t need to tell you that. Six of Lamet’s strikeouts were on the slider and this was the nastiest of the bunch. Steven Duggar took a three-quarter swing here just trying to make contact, but even if he laid off the pitch it still would have been a perfectly located strike three. Trick or Treat Lamet was a caramel apple on Thursday night – yeah, it’s sweet and tasty at times but boy does it make a mess.
James Karinchak’s Curveball
James Karinchak is the closer of the future in Cleveland, and if Brad Hand‘s ineffectiveness continues (a 15.43 ERA in three appearances) then the future may come sooner than later. Karinchak earned the first save of his career Thursday night in a quick 1-2-3 inning, including a strikeout of Max Kepler that featured three of Karinchak’s signature curveballs. My favorite part of this pitch is that, as it reaches the apex, it looks like it picks up speed and whizzes back to the right and into the zone. Karinchak should be a fun guy to watch for a long, long time.
Shane Bieber’s Fastball
We’re coming back to the Shane Bieber well again as we near the end of the night’s pitches, because why not? Max Kepler was caught watching this paint dry on the corner of the zone to end the third inning, and he wasn’t alone. Five of Bieber’s strikeouts were called strike threes as he kept the Twinkies on their toes all night. As long as Bieber is rolling, the Indians are a very dangerous team.
Jose Berrios’ Curveball
It’s the night of the curveball! Seriously, this is the 6th curveball featured on the night and honestly, they all deserve inclusion. This pitch looks Ottavino-Esque, just with a bit more drop and a little less break. The fact that Jose Berrios throws a curveball while Ottavino throws a slider is indicative of the creativity and pure filth that both pitchers possess. Baseball is truly the best.
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.