The regular season has come to an end and for the final time this season, we’re holding a vote to crown the Later this week the winner will be featured in the Best GIF of the 2nd Half tournament, so make sure your favorite gets included!
Kevin Gausman’s Split-Change – Gausman had a fantastic final start to 2015 as he struck out ten Toronto batters in eight innings of work. He fanned Ezequiel Carrera in the fourth with an excellent Split-Change that gets nastier every time you watch it.
Aaron Nola’s Fastball – He had the duty of dueling against Stephen Strasburg and held his own throwing five innings of shutout ball. Nola collected five Ks through the game, including this one to Ian Desmond with a Fastball featuring wicked movement.
Rich Hill’s Curveball – It’s been an amazing four start run for Hill in 2015 that has come to a close, but he left us with some fantastic hooks to hold us over until next year such as this one to stun Brett Gardner in the second inning. There’s nothing more satisfying as a pitcher than making batters freak out in the box only for the ball to fall in for a strike. (Thanks to Reddit user BarneyStinsbro for the tip!)
Noah Syndergaard’s Fastball #1 – Thor was straight up dealing on Friday night against the Reds, and painted a 99 MPH on the inside corner to punch out Jay Bruce. It’s hard not to love the puff of dust from Travis d’Arnaud’s glove at the pitch nails the spot.
Noah Syndergaard’s Fastball #2 – Syndergaard threw some more heat in his second outing and earned another spot on this list. There is no way you can watch the slow motion of this GIF and not emit some sort of approving noise. I elected to go with Keith’s “mmmmmm” as this 98 MPH heater nips the outside corner perfectly. (Thanks to Reddit user Seanzilla18 for the tip!)
Clayton Kershaw’s Curveball – On any given night he’s sure to have a pitch worthy of this list, and Tuesday night gave us this beauty to helpless pinch hitter Jarrett Parker. You would be hard pressed to think of a better Curveball in baseball. (Thanks to Reddit users Colossal89 and Llort2 and @adampaulcooper for the tips!)
Masahiro Tanaka’s Fastball – It was a tough first inning for the Japanese import, but Tanaka settled in nicely through the later innings. He embarrassed Xander Bogaerts after causing the young Red Sock to fall over after missing this Fastball. (Thanks to Reddit user Intelligenttrees for the tip!)
Jake Arrieta’s Curveball – Arrieta once again hinted at perfection last weekend, but had to settle for a 1-hitter through seven innings. He fanned nine Pirates such as former MVP Andrew McCutchen with a nasty 83 MPH Curveball.
Yordano Ventura’s Fastball #1 – Ventura also has two horses in this race, both with Fastballs. In his first outing, he was perfect through the first five innings, and he looked as dominant as ever as he carved up the Cubs’ lineup. His Fastball command was fantastic, just look at this excellent running Fastball to freeze Dexter Fowler to end the 6th inning.
Yordano Ventura’s Fastball #2 – It was prime Ventura on the hill against the Twins, and he was mowing batters down early as he pounded the zone. He was simply unhittable at times, like this 99 MPH Fastball to Aaron Hicks that somehow features excellent ride off the very corner of the plate. Unreal. (Thanks to @SethFriederman for the tip!)
Ichiro Suzuki’s Slider – It’s always fun to see position players get their shot at pitching, and baseball legend Ichiro finally got his chance on the hill in Sunday’s conclusion to the season. While hitting the upper 80s with his Fastball, Ichiro spun this nice Slider to Freddy Glavis who’s weak swing should tell you how surprised he was to see it. (Thanks to Reddit users a_license_to_chill and UnexpectedCroissant for the tip!)
GIF Of The Week
Which was your favorite pitch? Vote below to crown the winner!