It was one of the most exciting postseasons we’ve had and it came with no shortage of fantastic pitches for us to adore. Before we run our Best Pitching GIF of the Second Half Tournament, we still need to crown the best pitch from the 2017 playoffs.
Let’s look back on the incredible October and try our best to select just one pitch that will carry the torch into this week’s tournament. It won’t be easy.
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Yu Darvish’s Slider – The Dodgers traded for Darvish for a stable arm in the playoffs, and Darvish gave them just that in the NLDS, pitching over five frames and striking out seven, allowing just one ER. When Darvish is on, his Slider is public enemy #1 and the pitch made a fool of Paul Goldschmidt as its late bite pulled the pitch off the outside corner.
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Jose Berrios’ Fastball + Curveball – While Berrios’ final line wasn’t pretty, these two pitches to Todd Frazier were as gorgeous as they come. Starting in the same place each time, Berrios made one pitch dart over the plate at 96mph, while following that up with the same starting location, only to curl off the plate at 85mph. Incredible.
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Brandon Morrow’s Slider – Morrow finally had a day off during the World Series and his performance in Game 6 showed it. This tight Slider at a blistering 90mph is as good as it gets from Morrow and Carlos Correa didn’t have a chance.
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Stephen Strasburg’s Changeup – Despite taking the Loss in NLDS Game 1, Strasburg’s stuff was downright filthy, showing off gorgeous secondary pitches through the game. When his Changeup is working, it’s one of the prettiest pitches in the game and while multiple could have earned a spot today, we felt this fading slow ball to Kyle Shwarber was most deserving.
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Justin Verlander’s Curveball – Verlander was the workhorse the Astros needed often during this playoff run and helped secure an ALCS Game 7 in Houston. The Curveball that made everyone freak out was this deuce to Todd Frazier that induced one of the worst swings you’ll see.
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Charlie Morton’s Changeup – This was a remarkable pitch from Morton, even if it isn’t as flashy as the rest. He had only thrown one other Split-Changeup in his appearance – the pitch before – and he had the brass to not only double down but locate just far enough inside to avoid the danger zone of Chris Taylor. Perfect execution, admirable courage, and the best “pitcher’s pitch” of his night.
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Clayton Kershaw’s Curveball – This at-bat to Carlos Correa didn’t feature a single Fastball from Kershaw and you can see in Correa’s knees how surprising that was. Kershaw finished off the 0-2 count with one of his signature Curveballs and it fell from the sky to make us giddy for the strike three call.
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Chris Devenski’s Changeup – Devenski’s famous “Circle of Death” Changeup was displayed in the Bronx and it was as pretty as promised. Watch him get a big whiff from Greg Bird as the ball started above his the lefty’s waist before tumbling into the dirt.
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Jake Arrieta’s Curveball – There’s more to Arrieta’s arsenal than a lively Fastball as his Curveball boasted plenty of depth and life as well. Check out how far this hook swept into Chase Utley from the outside part of the plate, earning a well-deserved swing-and-miss. (Thanks to @DJFreddie10 for the tip!)
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Rich Hill’s Curveballs – Despite looking a little shaky in the early going, Hill was able to give the Dodgers four frames of just one run ball while fanning seven batters in Game 2 of the World Series. His Curveball made it happen, earning nearly identical punchouts to Marwin Gonzalez and Carlos Correa with a Curveball that traveled plenty more than it had any right to.
GIF Of The Playoffs
Which was your favorite pitch? Vote below and the winner will be featured in the GIF of the Second Half Contest.