Gerrit Cole’s Knuckle-Curve and the Nastiest Pitches from 9/11

Callen Elslager breaks down the nastiest pitches from Friday's action.

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. If your suggestion is included the next day, you’ll be entered into a weekly drawing for a free t-shirt!


Gerrit Cole’s Knuckle-Curve


We start off this edition of Nastiest Pitches with the highest-paid pitcher in baseball. Gerrit Cole had his best start since joining the Yankees on Friday, throwing a complete-game one-hitter in game 1 of the doubleheader against the Orioles, striking out nine. Among those strikeouts was this knuckle-curve down to DJ Stewart who took Cole deep twice the last time these two players faced off.


Jacob DeGrom’s Fastball


Going from one New York ace to the other, Jacob deGrom matched that performance by Cole, striking out nine in six innings in the win against the Blue Jays on Friday. On this strikeout of Lourdes Gurriel Jr., degrom hit 100 mph with his fastball while painting the bottom of the zone at his knees, catching Gurriel looking. The Mets won 18-1, which might be all the run support deGrom gets for the next year.  (S/O to PL+ member nvita).


Blake Snell’s Slider


Blake Snell was equally as impressive on Friday night, only lasting 5.1 innings but striking out five and picking up the win in the process of the Rays 11-1 win over the Red Sox. Though this pitch was not one of those strikeouts, this slider bearing in on Michael Chavis would set up one of those strikeouts on the very next pitch. (S/O to PL+ member Alex Tran).


Brandon Woodruff’s Curveball


Of all the pitching performances on Friday, the most impressive might have been Brandon Woodruff. In a pitcher’s duel against the Cubs, Woodruff went seven shutout innings, allowing only one hit, while generating twelve strikouts. The most impressive of these strikeouts was this curveball to David Bote dropping down onto the outside corner and sending him down looking.


Lucas Giolito’s Fastball


Lucas Giolito all ready has a no-hitter under his belt this season, and today he has his elite strikeout stuff. In this outing he did strike out seven Tigers in 5.2 innings, picking up the no-decision. The first of these strikeouts was this 96 mph fastball up above the letters with Victor Reyes swinging through under the ball.


Shane Bieber’s Curveball


The American League Cy Young Award favorite, Shane Bieber, displayed more of his Cy Young stuff on Friday. Though he took the loss, he showed off more of that elite stuff with eight strikeouts in his seven innings of work, including this curveball to Jake Cave, getting him to swing over top of it to escape a jam. (S/O to PL+ member Alex Tran).


Jon Lester’s Changeup


With all these young arms making this article, it is nice to see former elite arms like Jon Lester still appear on the list. He was the opposing starter in the aforementioned pitcher’s duel with Brandon Woodruff, competing pitch for pitch with him in six shutout innings, striking out eight Brewers. Among those strikeouts was this changeup down and away to Keston Hiura, getting him to swing through it.


Casey Mize’s Curveball


Friday may have been the best start in the young career of Casey Mize, allowing only one hit in 5.1 innings with five strikeouts in a no-decision. Among these strikeouts was this curveball down and away, getting James McCann to swing over top and chase out of the zone. I have a feeling we will be seeing Mize’s name in these articles many more times in his career.


Kenta Maeda’s Split-Changeup


Kenta Maeda has absolutely lived up to the hype he was getting with the change of scenery to Minnesota. Friday night was no different as Maeda was seven shutout innings, only allowing four hits and striking out seven. The best of these strikeouts was this split-change outside to César Hernández easily getting him to swing through and take the walk back to the dugout.


Adam Wainwright’s Curveball


Adam Wainwright ended his outing on Friday night with this curveball down to Jose Garcia getting him to swing through it to escape further trouble. This curveball was one of his four strikeouts, trying to keep the Cardinals close while Luis Castillo was dominant.


Codi Heuer’s Slider


Codi Heuer pitches a scoreless inning of work while holding the White Sox’s one run lead in the eighth on Friday night. His final pitch was this slider down to Jorge Bonifacio getting him to chase, and preserving the 4-3 lead, to set up the White Sox for the save opportunity in the ninth.


Luis Castillo’s Slider


Gerrit Cole was not the only complete game on Friday, as Luis Castillo went the distance against the Reds only allowing two hits in the process. While working on this start, Castillo struck out six hitters, including one on this down and away slider getting Paul DeJong out in front of the pitch.


Devon Williams’ Changeup


Devin Williams was at it again on Friday night with his changeup, keeping the game scoreless in his lone inning of work. In escaping this trouble in the 8th, Williams would even the count with this changeup down to Anthony Rizzo causing this awkward swing. Williams would end up striking out Rizzo the next pitch with another of these changeups. With an outing like that, and a pitch this good, it is hard to pick which one makes it on this list.


Yusei Kikuchi’s Slider


We wrap up this article with Yusei Kikuchi, with this slider down to Eduardo Escobar. It was one of five strikeouts in his six innings of work. Taking the loss in this start, Kikuchi kept the Mariners close enough in attempt to come from behind late in the game. (S/O to PL+ member Alex Tran).

Callen Elslager

Callen is a law school student at Widener Law Commonwealth. When he doesn't have his head in the books studying law he can be found with his head in a Fangraphs or Baseball Savant page learning more about the sport he loves.

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