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 this weekend to see if it will be in contention for 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.
Stephen Strasburg’s Changeup
Stephen Strasburg came into Friday’s playoff game with a 0.41 playoff ERA, so expectations for his start against L.A. were high. Saying he delivered on those expectations would be grossly underselling his performance, though. The MLB’s No. 4 offense could muster only three hits against Strasburg, striking out 10 times. After already giving the Nats three scoreless in the Wild Card Game, it was even more impressive to see him come into L.A. and neuter the Dodgers like he did.
Mark Melancon’s Curveball
After Mark Melancon bombed on Thursday to allow four earned runs in a single inning, it would have been understandable if the Braves chose not to give him the call to close out a close Game 2. Instead, Melancon got his shot at redemption and nailed down the save with two strikeouts.
Mike Foltynewicz’s Slider
The 2018 postseason did not go particularly well for Mike Foltynewicz, so this start against the Cardinals was a perfect opportunity for redemption. He stepped up under pressure and fired seven scoreless, allowing just three Cardinals to reach base. The 2019 season was a tumultuous one for Folty, but continuing a strong postseason would forgive all hard feelings from the regular season.
Jose Berrios’ Curveball
After pitching poorly in his first postseason outing in 2017, Jose Berrios was ready this time. The young ace allowed a single earned run over four innings of work, though the Minnesota bullpen wasted no time in blowing up and losing the Twins the game. We likely won’t see Berrios again until at least Game 4, but hopefully the Twins can win a game or two before then to allow him the opportunity.
Roberto Osuna’s Slider
Despite being only 24, Roberto Osuna has a good amount of playoff experience, with 2019 being his fourth postseason in five seasons. He got the job done to close out the Rays on Friday, striking out two and not allowing a baserunner. The Astros are the easy favorites to win the World Series, and if this game was any indication, they fully intend on making it there in dominant fashion.
James Paxton’s Curveball
I’ve been making “Maybe James Paxton is just saving his energy for the postseason” jokes for much of this season, so it’s poetic that he would be opening the Yankees postseason journey. He was decent enough, allowing three earned runs over 4.2 innings, striking out eight Twins along the way. The Yankees offense can only carry them so far when the Astros exist, so they seriously need James Paxton.
GIF of the Night
Which was your favorite pitch? Vote below, and the winner will be featured in the Nastiest Pitches of the Season GIF Tournament.