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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Sandy Alcantara‘s Sinker
This pitch was absolutely ridiculous. A sinker approaching triple digits bending back into the zone after appearing like it was going to hit the batter seems absolutely unfair, and for the Angels it was. Alcantara twirled eight shutout innings, struck out 10 while not walking anyone, and posted a 33% CSW while leading all pitchers from the day in whiffs. He continues to add to his case for the best pitcher in baseball, lowering his ERA to 1.82 and raising his average innings per start to 7.2. In an age of declining starter innings, Alcantara’s awesome innings totals make him special.
Max Scherzer‘s Slider
Scherzer had a brilliant game in his first start coming off the IL. On a strict pitch count, he still managed to throw six scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts. This nasty slider led the way, with a 61% CSW contributing to a 44% CSW overall. While he ended up saddled with the no-decision, he proved he’s back as good as ever. With Jacob deGrom making minor league rehab starts (and absolutely destroying the competition), the Mets rotation is about to look quite scary.
Ryan Pepiot‘s Changeup
Pepiot made a few big league starts earlier in the season, but had major control issues, walking nearly a batter per inning. In his five innings today, he struck out six while walking only one and earning his first major league win. His best pitch throughout his career has been this ridiculous changeup with a vicious late break, catching Charlie Blackmon off-balance and getting the big strikeout.
Taylor Rogers‘ Slider
Rogers has quietly been one of the better relievers of the past half-decade or so, with a sub-3 ERA since 2018. He’s absolutely dominated hitters with his great sinker/slider mix, perennially topping ground ball leaderboards and striking out over a batter per inning. The Padres’ closer is on pace for over 45 saves, and it’s easy to see why here.
Nick Lodolo‘s Curveball
Just like his opponent in this game, Max Scherzer, Lodolo also returned from injury today and had a brilliant start. He didn’t match Scherzer’s inning total, but he tossed 4.2 scoreless innings and set up the Reds’ late-game win. This sweepy curveball has been his best pitch, breaking 10 inches to his glove side and inducing eight whiffs on 11 swings.
Dillon Tate‘s Changeup
The Orioles haven’t been great, but they’ve definitely been a fun team and have shown a substantial improvement from previous seasons. Their bullpen has been a huge bright spot, with six relievers with at least 25 innings and an ERA of 2.60 or lower. Arguably the best of them has been Tate, who leads the pen in FIP and has one of the nastiest pitches in the league in this changeup. Rangers hitters swung at eight of Tate’s changeups in this game, and missed at seven of them.
Nick Pivetta‘s Slider
After struggling for years, especially with the home run ball, Pivetta has experienced a huge breakout this year, with a 3.23 ERA through 16 starts. He’s primarily leveraged his elite fastball/curveball combo with some of the best spin rates and vertical movement in the league, but this bullet slider thrown in the mid to high 80s has also been a significant part of his success. Not many sliders are thrown that hard while also getting that much sweep.
Logan Gilbert‘s Knuckle Curve
Gilbert has built on a solid rookie season with a much bigger breakout, with a 2.61 ERA through half the season. Despite a pedestrian CSW sitting around 25%, he’s consistently put together good start after good start and keeping the Mariners afloat despite the struggles from the rest of the team. He got some insane movement on this curveball, getting the big whiff despite it backing up.
Joe Barlow‘s Slider
While Barlow didn’t have the greatest game (right before this he gave up a game-tying homer allowing Baltimore to win in extras), his hard slider is still a very good pitch. He threw breaking balls in 11 of his 12 pitches, earning three whiffs on the slider alone in his inning of work.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)