The 14 Nastiest Pitches from Thursday

Callen Elslager breaks down the Nastiest Pitches from Opening Day.

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!


Lucas Giolito’s Changeup




Lucas Giolito showed off that stuff which put him in the Cy Young Award conversation for this season. With all his pitches working on Thursday, he struck out eight batters in his 5.1 innings, a strong portion of those strikeouts coming with his changeup. Anytime you can make Mike Trout look as foolish as Giolito did here, you belong on this list. (h/t to PL+ member Mike Perugini).


Sandy Alcantaras Changeup




Sandy Alcantara had arguably the most exciting performance on Thursday, going six shutout innings with seven strikeouts on only two hits. This start reminds us that while we’re excited about many of the young arms in Miami to not forget about Alcantara in that conversation, especially on this 93 mph changeup which Yoshi Tsutsugo swung over.


Chris Bassitt’s Slider




Pulled after only 68 pitches on Thursday, Chris Bassitt had a solid day only allowing two earned runs in 5.1 innings before the Astros lineup broke the game open against Oakland’s bullpen. Here we see a slow curveball that Yuli Gurriel could not hold up on, sending him down swinging. (h/t to PL+ member baseballstuff24).


David Bednar’s Curveball




You probably weren’t expecting to see any Pirates on this edition of Nastiest Pitches but David Bednar came on in relief in the 7th inning and struck out the side, preserving Pittsburgh’s lead as they went on to win on Opening Day. Javier Baez had no chance of hitting this curveball moving out of the zone and away.


Shane Bieber’s Curveball




Shane Bieber had himself quite an Opening Day punching out 12 Tigers, but allowing three runs in the freezing cold temperatures of Detroit as he took the loss on Opening Day. However, with a CSW of 42%, he reminded us how truly dominant he can be — especially evident on this curveball to Victor Reyes which was swung over as Perez would throw him out at first. (h/t to PL+ member pj20).


Gerrit Cole’s Fastball




Gerrit Coles first start in front of the Yankee Stadium faithful went pretty well for him allowing two runs, along with eight strikeouts in 5.1 innings, with a no-decision. Here we see a reminder of Cole’s top-of-the-game stuff painting a 99 mph fastball to catch Danny Jansen looking and escape further damage in the second inning. (h/t to PL+ member Burial).


Yu Darvish’s Slider




Yu Darvish made his Padres’ debut on Thursday, picking up a no-decision in a game the Padres would ultimately win. While the Diamondbacks got to him a bit with the long ball, Darvish did pick up six strikeouts among them, this pitch causing Stephen Vogt to swing right through it.


Max Fried’s Curveball




After a Cy Young caliber season in 2020, Max Fried is looking to further prove himself as the ace of this Braves staff and took steps in doing that on Thursday, striking out eight Phillies in his five innings of work. Among those strikeouts was this curveball causing Andrew McCutchen to swing through and be sent back to the dugout.


Tyler Glasnow’s Curveball




Tyler Glasnow reintroduced himself along with his new third pitch to the tune of six one-hit innings, possibly silencing some doubt as to whether he can emerge as the ace without his former teammates in Snell and Morton. Here we see a curveball dropped right in to catch Magneuris Sierra looking.


Greg Holland’s Slider




The veteran Greg Holland has returned for another year in the Royals pen as the likely closer as Mike Matheny brought him in to escape a bases-loaded jam in the 8th and then returned to attempt to finish off the game in the 9th. Holland escaped the jam with this slider which Leody Taveras could only wave through sending Holland running back to the dugout.


Raisel Iglesias‘ Changeup




Raisel Iglesias‘ Angel debut on Thursday could not have gone much better tossing a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th to close out the game and pick up the save as part of the new revamped Angel bullpen. Here he throws a changeup to catch Leury Garcia down swinging, though I could have picked many different pitches from his outing for this piece. (h/t to PL+ member Christopher Reaves).


Kenta Maeda’s Splitter




Kenta Maeda certainly struggled a bit in his Opening Day nod on Thursday, not getting through five innings in a no-decision against the Brewers. Here we see a beautiful splitter to start off his day sending Kolten Wong back to the dugout in his first Brewer at-bat.


Julian Merryweather’s Changeup




With the Blue Jays without their closer Kirby Yates for the season and having used presumed closer Jordan Romano earlier in the game, they had to turn to Julian Merryweather to finish off their victory over the Yankees. Boy did he impress as he struck out the side on 11 pitches, all strikes including this perfectly placed changeup on the corner to catch Aaron Hicks looking. (h/t to PL+ member Burial).


Freddy Peralta’s Curveball




Well, we all thought Freddy Peralta would be a starter this season, yet Craig Counsell called on him from the bullpen on Thursday to relieve Brandon Woodruff after his struggles. Peralta would get six outs all on strikeouts while walking three, displaying his upside and his inconsistencies. Here we see a gorgeous curveball to get Miguel Sano down swinging and escape a jam, keeping the deficit at one run — which Milwaukee would overcome to start their season off with a win.


What was the Nastiest Pitch on 4/1?


Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns of Twitter)

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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