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!
Jhoan Duran’s Fastball
He’s doing it again! Duran averaged 101.6 mph on his fastball in his two innings of work, with ten heaters reaching 102 or higher. Along with his “splinker”, the hardest offspeed pitch in all of baseball, he’s one of just three pitchers to average over 100 on four-seam fastballs. Even in the highest velocity era in league history, Duran continues to be an outlier.
Héctor Neris‘ Splitter
This pitch in this location is straight up impossible to hit. What’s even more incredible is that Neris got four whiffs on this splitter in his scoreless 10th inning, all of them hitting the same spot. His shutdown here is a big part of why the Astros were able to walk it off in the bottom of the 10th.
Alek Manoah’s Slider
While Manoah absolutely dominated with the armside fastball today (43% sinker CSW), his sweeping slider was just as good as ever. It drew plenty of chases on pitches well out of the zone, including this one to Ramón Urías that got him flailing.
Jeremiah Estrada’s Fastball
After being a relatively unheralded pitching prospect in the Cubs system, Estrada was called up last week and immediately proved that he has arguably the best four-seam fastball in baseball. He throws hard, averaging 97 mph, but the amount of vertical movement he gets is even more ridiculous. He routinely averages over 20 inches of induced vertical break, rivaling only the biggest outliers in the league.
Gerrit Cole’s Curveball
Cole was dominant yet again and put up one of his nuttiest statlines of the year, striking out 14 hitters while leading the day with 23 whiffs. Over half of these swinging strikes came on his breaking balls, like this knuckle curve that got former teammate Carlos Correa to whiff big.
Zack Greinke’s Changeup
19 years into a generational big league career, Greinke’s still got it. In 120 innings this year, the 38-year-old is still sporting an above-average ERA for the team that initially drafted and signed him. Greinke’s changeup has always been his signature pitch, but he’s turned it into a new gear late in his career, as he’s known for throwing it almost as hard as his fastball. Half of his eight whiffs today came on the change.
James Karinchak’s Curveball
Karinchak has had an amazing rebound this year, keeping an ERA around one while striking out over 40% of all batters faced. After (perhaps dubiously) rediscovering his feel for spin, especially on breaking balls, Karinchak has mowed down lineups in relief for a lethal Guardians bullpen. Here, the movement is too much for Nate Eaton to handle, and he can’t check his swing.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)