Astros AM Breakdown: Lance McCullers and the wonder of his curveball
The Astros thumped the White Sox by the score of 11-4 on Friday night. If only that offensive onslaught occurred thirteen years ago during the 2005 World Series.
When future me looks back on the Astros‘ victory on June 6, 2018, I will probably gawk at the offensive firepower shown to the world. Eleven runs, which included a 3-for-4 night from Evan Gattis.
By the way, Gattis has a .823 OPS. Only Jose Altuve (.883), Carlos Correa (.832), and Alex Bregman (.892) have a higher OPS this season. While it is not a “fun” fact, it is still something to appreciate.
Anyway, this post was meant to be about Lance McCullers and the wonder of his curveball. Getting sidetracked is a pain, isn’t it?
On Friday night against the White Sox, McCullers had arguably his best start of the season.
7 innings, 3 hits, 1 earned run, 0 walks, 12 strikeouts
McCullers threw only 93 pitches, 62 of which were strikes. Of the 93 pitches, he threw a curveball 58 times. And of the 58 curveballs, 16 were for swinging strikes. For the game, McCullers had 23 total swinging strikes. In short, McCullers’ curveball was in top form on Friday night. This game reminds me of another appearance by McCullers that involved plenty of curveballs.
Oh, yes, THAT game!
Here is a GIF from Rob Friedman, otherwise known as the Pitching Ninja. If you don’t already follow him on Twitter, well, you should. This GIF shows how McCullers throws his curveball.
And here is another GIF showing the difference between two curveballs McCullers threw on Friday night. The possibility of a “slow” curve intrigues me much.
Then you have the noticeable change in the vertical movement of the curveball throughout McCullers’ career.
And the change in horizontal movement.
Overall, McCullers’ curveball is an effective pitch. Over the course of his major league career, the age-24 pitcher has held opposing hitters to a batting average ranging from .137 to .212 courtesy of the pitch. And I, for one, enjoy watching McCullers throwing it.
Houston Astros News and Notes From Around FanSided
The deal that will land Raisel Iglesias [House Of Houston – T.A. Mock]
Three nightmare opponents during first half [Call To The Pen – Kyle Cardoza]
More Houston Astros and General Baseball News From Around the Internet
McCullers fans career-high 12 in rout of ChiSox [MLB.com – Christian Boutwell]
Dexter Fowler and the Cardinals’ Foul-Up [FanGraphs – Jay Jaffe]
Next: Examining Yuli Gurriel in key situations
We hope you enjoyed this edition of the AM Breakdown.