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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Yu Darvish‘s Slider
Red Sox/Yankees has been the best rivalry in baseball history, but right now, in 2021, Dodgers/Padres takes the cake. Baseball of the highest quality and games in which the weight of every pitch feels like it’s the playoffs in April. Yu Darvish and Clayton Kershaw went toe to toe and only Fernando Tatis Jr. was the difference with two solo home runs in a 3-1 Padres win. Yu Darvish‘s yell after this frisbee-like slider overwhelms Max Muncy is indicative of the playoff-like intensity. (h/t to PL+ member Ben Bingham).
Jacob deGrom‘s Changeup
Jacob deGrom‘s dominant performance against the Nationals last night was reminiscent of a Little League game. deGrom not only shut out the Nationals with 15 Ks, but he also broke a 0-0 tie with an RBI double in the fifth inning. deGrom added another hit and treated the Nationals like they were a lucky college team facing the local major league team during spring training. I could have chosen a 101 mph fastball or a dotted 93 mph slider, but this changeup to Trea Turner shows how deGrom has elevated his repertoire in 2021. To my untrained eye, deGrom showed three plus-plus pitches and as a baseball fan I want to see if deGrom can maintain his level of dominance for the entire season.
Clayton Kershaw‘s Curveball
Clayton Kershaw might wish he stuck with his curveball a little longer last night because he made some costly mistakes with his slider despite the numerous swings and misses he also created. Kershaw’s curveball is one of the most beautiful pitches of all time and when he spots it on the low and outside corner to righties it looks like it’s virtually impossible to hit with any authority. Wil Myers decided it was better to live for another pitch than to swing at Kershaw’s curve.
Liam Hendriks‘ Four-Seam Fastball
Liam Hendriks came into the game in the eighth inning to get a five-out save and despite a couple of hiccups, he got the save five strikeouts. The pick of the litter was this fastball spotted perfectly down and in on lefty Joey Gallo. Like Kershaw’s curveball above, Hendriks’ fastball looks unhittable, and Joey Gallo could only hope the umpire would call the borderline pitch a ball. He had no such luck.
Adam Ottavino‘s Slider
After Adam Ottavino was traded to the Red Sox during the offseason he expressed hope that the move from the crowded Yankees bullpen to a Red Sox bullpen with holes to fill would allow him to be more than a righty specialist. Well last night, Ottavino came in to face two hitters, a righty and a lefty, though it still seems like Ottavino is being used more like a righty fireman than a designated inning reliever. Ottavino struck out both hitters he faces and if he can keep getting ahead in counts he can use his slider to finish hitters in a disrespectful manner.
Tyler Glasnow‘s Four-Seam Fastball
Tyler Glasnow showed his Jekyll and Hyde nature yesterday with 10 Ks, but also a tough first inning in which he allowed 4 runs. Glasnow used his new slider/cutter and even a couple of changeups at over 90 mph. Glasnow’s bread and butter is still high fastball/curveball in the dirt for a reason though, and the spin and slight cut Glasnow gets on his four-seam fastball really fools hitters. Check out how far Biggo swings underneath Glasnow’s fastball in the slow-motion cut.
Steven Matz‘s Curveball
Steven Matz showed the potential the Blue jays bet on last night with his performance against the deep Rays lineup. Matz primarily used his fastball, which he had great command of, and used his curve to finish hitters. The hump on this curve would make Rich Hill proud, and the lateral movement fools Kevin Kiermaier to induce a swing and miss.
Alex Reyes‘s Sinker
Reyes’ peripherals mostly still don’t look great, with not enough Ks and way too many walks, but for fantasy owners, but fantasy owners will continue to ride him because he keeps getting saves. Whether he is actually a good pitcher is still up for debate, but even a Cubs fan can’t deny Reyes throws some nasty pitches. This sinker to Eugenio Suarez starts on the plate before breaking sharply onto Suarez’s hands at 96 mph.
Rafael Dolis‘ Splitter
After injuries to Kirby Yates, Jordan Romano, and Julian Merryweather it seems that Rafael Dolis is the next man up for the Blue Jays’ closer role. It shows how much better the average reliever is than the average reliever even ten years ago that a guy I’d never heard of before spring training is throwing gas with a late tumbling splitter. In the slow-motion cut, you can see the point when the split falls off the table and starts tumbling out of the strike zone.
Ryan Pressly‘s Curveball
Facing Shohei Ohtani has got to be scary for any pitcher. Ohtani reminds me of Vlad Guerrero Sr. because he swings hard at everything and is able to hit pitches out of the strike zone with unusual power. Pressly stuck with his best pitch the curveball and got Ohtani to swing through a pitch that looks like a hittable fastball before it breaks out of the zone.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns of Twitter)