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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It’s the last day of the regular season so we’re gonna have some fun. The theme for today will be lefty hooks – every pitch you see here will be a curveball from a left-handed pitcher. Enjoy.
Clayton Kershaw’s Curveball
In an article that shows off left-handed breaking balls, you know that Public Enemy Number One has to be featured here. One of the greatest curveballs of all time, Kershaw’s downer is a huge change of pace from his 90 mph fastballs and 87 mph sliders. And it’s for that reason that hitters are so often caught off guard, like Randal Grichuk here.
Caleb Ferguson’s Curveball
Kershaw isn’t the only Dodger who can snap off a good breaker. Ferguson has been one of many excellent Dodgers relievers developed in their system, finishing this injury-shortened season with an ERA below two. This curve had a spin rate over 3200 rpm, and his 3079 rpm average puts him in elite company.
Alex Young’s Curveball
In the other NL West matchup, the Giants’ bullpen game provided plenty of opportunities for their lefties to show off their stuff. Young was waived by the Guardians earlier this year, and after being converted to a reliever he had an excellent partial season with the Giants. With his 1.2 scoreless innings today, he finishes the season with a 2.36 ERA, riding his more secondary-focused arsenal to success.
Andrew Vasquez‘ Curveball
Vasquez was basically created for this kind of article. Not only is his stuff nasty, as you can see here, but he also throws so, so many curveballs. While he generally throws curveballs about two-thirds of the time, he threw 31 breakers in this outing as opposed to just four sinkers. Those 31 pitches generated a pair of whiffs and 8 called strikes, as Vasquez completed two hitless innings with four strikeouts.
Ken Waldichuk’s Curveball
On the other side of the Bay, rookie Ken Waldichuk started the game for the A’s against Shohei Ohtani… and won. Results-wise, this was the best start of Waldichuk’s young career, as he tossed seven scoreless innings against the Angels. Since his days as a prospect with the Yankees, he’s always been known for having deadly breaking stuff, and he showed it off here. Waldichuk now has two big league wins, coming at the expense of Ohtani and Jacob deGrom.
Lucas Luetge’s Curveball
While former Yankee Ken Waldichuk was showing off his skills in front of his home crowd in Oakland, current Yankee Lucas Luetge tossed a scoreless inning in relief in Texas. He’s quietly been one of the better relievers in baseball over the past two seasons, finishing this year with a 2.67 ERA. While he averages just 88 mph on his cutter, Luetge still strikes out batters at an above-average clip while being one of the league’s best at avoiding hard contact.
Matt Moore’s Curveball
A few minutes after Luetge fooled Charlie Culberson with his big curve, Moore came in to close the game. The former top prospect has re-emerged as a reliever with dominant stuff and has been closing games for the Rangers all season. He successfully ended the game-tying threat, putting his team in the W column to end the season.
Framber Valdez‘ Curveball
Valdez had an amazing conclusion to his season. Despite being on a pitch count, he still struck out double-digit batters across five scoreless frames. After going nearly the entire season throwing all quality starts, he concluded with possibly one of his most dominant starts of the whole year.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)