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April 12, 2013

Pebble Hunting

The Best Pitches Thrown This Week

by Sam Miller

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You could have an intro here, or we could go straight to the sweet and sexy pitches. Nobody pays for the intro (literally, in the case of BP's paywall), so forget the intro. To the pitches!

3. Matt Moore, fastball, against Asdrubal Cabrera, in which Moore eagerly unveils the new slider he's been working on; "guys," he tells everybody before he throws it, "it's such a swell slider, sliding all over the place and real hard like, so I can use it on two strikes and it'll break way out of the zone and batters will swing at it because they don't anticipate how much it's going to slide," upon which Moore proceeds to throw it and everybody tells him that, as far as sliders go, it actually breaks the wrong way, that clearly Moore is doing it wrong, sending Moore into a funk until he figures "ah shucks to it all, I'm going to throw it anyway."

Reviews of this pitch: 

"How... in the name of Zeus’ butthole?" —Nicolas Cage as Stanley Goodspeed, from The Rock

"I have an acronym for myself. Know what it is? B.A.D. B.A.D... Balls, Attitude, Direction." —Nicolas Cage as Little Junior Brown, from Kiss of Death

"You filthy, double crossing, little f****** filthy, double crossing, filthy, f****** goddamn f****** filthy little RAT!" —Nicolas Cage as Eddie, from Deadfall

2. Jose Fernandez, fastball, against Lucas Duda, in which Jose Fernandez throws a fastball that is in the catcher's glove before Duda can get a swing off, except literally this is true, rather than a figurative statement meant to convey hyperbole:  


Reviews of this pitch: 

"Hey, have you ever been dragged to the sidewalk and beaten till you PISSED... BLOOD!" —Nicolas Cage as Roy Mercer, from Matchstick Men

"That was the plan. To give you a boner. And you got one." —Nicolas Cage as Rick Santoro, from Snake Eyes

"DIE! F***** DIE! DIE!" —Nicolas Cage as Tom Welles, from 8MM

1. Every pitch thrown against Brett Wallace thus far this year, in which pitchers, as a group, have made us question what we know about the delicate balance between offense and defense by so utterly dominating one very qualified major-league hitter over the course of an entire week, striking him out 17 times in 22 plate appearances, a rate that puts Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout game to shame, and a rate that has been carried out over a full (min. 20 PA) season by only two hitters in the history of the game (the pitcher Rick Vandenhurk, who struck out 17 times in 22 plate appearances, and the pitcher Bob Lee, who struck out 19 times in 24 plate appearances); the cumulative effect of which leaves open the question of whether the following 14 pitches are good pitches or whether they are merely bad swings, with the exception of the pitch that Yu Darvish throws (directly below) which carries no ambiguity whatsoever and which follows the jarring and propulsive geography of a young child's penmanship. 

Reviews of these 14 pitches: 

"On any other day, that might seem strange." —Nicolas Cage as Cameron Poe, from Con-Air

"I have always found something in life worth singing about and for that I cannot apologize." —Nicolas Cage as Captain Antonio Corelli, from Captain Corelli's Mandolin

"The best drug in the world. For days, sometimes weeks afterwards, you walk the streets, making infinite whatever you see. Once, for a few weeks, I couldn't feel the earth - everything I touched became lighter. Horns played in my shoes. Flowers fell from my pockets. You wonder if you've become immortal. God has passed through you. Why deny it, that for a moment there - why deny that for a moment there, God was you?" —Nicolas Cage as Frank Pierce, from Bringing Out The Dead

Sam Miller is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Sam's other articles. You can contact Sam by clicking here

Related Content:  Yu Darvish,  Matt Moore,  Brett Wallace,  Pitches

24 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Dave Holgado

I'd like to nominate another pitch: the one Zack Greinke threw to Carlos Quentin last night. In retrospect (and I recognize how inappropriate a sentiment this is, but it captures my anger), I only wish he had thrown it higher and tighter. Quentin broke the man's collarbone in the brawl that ensued and that CQ unnecessarily instigated.

According to the San Diego Tribune, Quentin claimed he would not have charged the mound if it weren't for what Greinke said to him right after the pitch. Of course, he did not elaborate on what Greinke said. And he also probably did not realize that the game cameras caught that angle completely, and revealed that all Zack said was a single word, in response to Quentin's initial, unwarranted stare-down. That word was "stop." Didn't need the great Evan Brunell's lip reading skills to decipher that one (nor for Matt Kemp's repeated "that was fertilizer," for that matter).

I know it won't happen, but I agree with Don Mattingly's suggestion that Quentin should not be allowed to play again until Greinke is healed. Alternatively, my advice for him is the same as the advice that Shoeless Joe gave to Moonlight Graham: "watch out for in your ear."

Oh, and Cage's review of the pitch has to be Santoro again from Snake Eyes: "I guess they don't call you the executioner for nothing! And you sign my kid's autograph!"

Apr 12, 2013 05:47 AM
rating: 1
Dave Holgado

Go ahead and minus me, I probably deserve it, but I'm not nearly finished on this.

If C.Q. doesn't get a lengthy suspension, then I don't see how the Dodgers can stand for it without retribution. Quentin is a well-known "leaner" (as Mitch Williams called it) who gets hit on a per-plate-appearance basis more than any other active hitter (and it's not particularly close, check it out: http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/HBP_top_ten.shtml... once every 20 plate appearances last year!). And this isn't bad luck. The guy gets hit in the same damn place most of the time (the hands that he refuses to move out of the way) and by all manner of pitchers. And on top of that, he's got 50 lbs. on Greinke and is well aware of the damage he can cause someone just on a straight F=ma basis.

Greinke didn't throw at him. Greinke said "stop." Greinke lowered his non-pitching shoulder in self-defense. Greinke got hurt. Quentin must pay.

Understand that I am a peace, love and understanding kind of guy. Kind that votes for Howard Dean and watches a lot of Aaron Sorkin. And if *I'm* saying this, just imagine how the entire Dodgers clubhouse feels right now.

In your ear, pal.

Apr 12, 2013 12:57 PM
rating: 3

Suspension length when injury is involved is a tricky thing that all sports leagues have struggled with. I just don't know how long Bud can realistically give. If he goes "too far" (whatever that might mean) there may be a grievance filed by the Players' Association. That of course, would be silly in that they'd be supporting Quentin, but not Greinke, but that's how various PAs have dealt with this kind of thing in the past...

Besides that though, CQ could stand a bit of an attitude adjustment on this. If he's going to make a living leaning in, he's got to accept getting hit. I can't imagine Ron Hunt or Craig Biggio acting that way. (I can imagine Don Baylor getting mad, but I think it would take a lot more direct provocation.)

Apr 12, 2013 15:55 PM
rating: 2
Dave Holgado

Good points all. And I know that an 8-week (~50 game) suspension would be unheard of for what could be considered -- at some level of abstraction, at least -- an ordinary, run of the mill mound-charging.

Apr 12, 2013 18:02 PM
rating: 0
Mike W

Is there something wrong with the gif of Moore's pitch, or did it just bend time and space? Because it looks like it jumps into the catcher's glove. And that wouldn't be fair.

Oh, and Carlos Quentin is a pussy douchebag.

Apr 12, 2013 07:13 AM
rating: 1

This made me laugh so hard. Thanks Sam.

Apr 12, 2013 07:29 AM
rating: 0

Sam, you should give Vampire's Kiss a spin sometime. It features some of the highest quality Cage freakouts.

Apr 12, 2013 07:35 AM
rating: 0

Unfortunately the only movie worth seeing involving Nicolas Cage is 'Valley Girl'. Everything else is just...awful.

Apr 12, 2013 09:33 AM
rating: -2

Raising Arizona?

Apr 12, 2013 09:58 AM
rating: 9
Dave Holgado


Apr 12, 2013 09:58 AM
rating: 5
Dave Holgado

And what MFBabyFeets (can't believe I just typed that) said.

Apr 12, 2013 09:59 AM
rating: -1


Apr 12, 2013 10:48 AM
rating: 1

Leaving Las Vegas

Apr 12, 2013 13:01 PM
rating: 1

Academy Award, and Elizabeth Shue!

Apr 13, 2013 23:29 PM
rating: 0

Oh, please. You are making Robert Ebert spin in his grave.

Apr 12, 2013 16:34 PM
rating: 0

Wild at Heart

Apr 13, 2013 11:04 AM
rating: 0

"Wild At Heart"?!

Apr 14, 2013 20:29 PM
rating: 1

Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Apr 15, 2013 12:46 PM
rating: 2

The most Cage-ian performance of his career has to be in "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans."

Apr 12, 2013 09:47 AM
rating: 1

He plays himself, and it's glorious. Honestly, the majority of the pitches Wallace struck out on were filth of the sort that the Moral Majority warned us against. He got the short end of a pear-shaped stick.

Apr 12, 2013 10:43 AM
rating: 1
Randy Brown

I count four different jerseys in the Wallace montage. Just how many alternate jerseys does a team need? Maybe one of Sky's 32 questions should have been # of Astro jerseys vs. # of Astro wins.

Apr 12, 2013 10:14 AM
rating: 4

Poor Brett Wallace.

Apr 12, 2013 11:02 AM
rating: 0

No quotes from "Stolen" --- invalid! That was also a very Cage-ian performance.

Apr 12, 2013 12:51 PM
rating: 0

Think I know what the Rangers game plan for him was! Which is funny because after looking awful on inside (and down) breaking balls, then he goes looking awful on high fbs and then to add good measure a change against Seattle. Not a good start Brett Wallace.

That slider by Darvish is pretty exceptional in the top left gif.

Apr 14, 2013 08:23 AM
rating: 0
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