The Best Pitch in Baseball: Greinke's Slider?
In case you missed it last night, young Kansas City ace Zack Greinke recorded a whopping 15 strikeouts against the Indians. While he dominated Cleveland in the way that a solid high school pitcher might toy with Little Leaguers, one thing was particularly notable about his performance: His slider was absolutely, positively unhittable.
Of Greinke's 15 strikeouts, 11 final strikes came on a slider. Many of those pitches left batters so puzzled that they couldn't decide whether to swing (outfielder Matt LaPorta was caught in such a scenario twice, looking absolutely embarrassed on both occasions). The entire scene reached surreal levels when Kansas City fans marking each Greinke strikeout with an extra K in his name ran out of K's ... and room to add on the E that ends his name.
Yet perhaps Tuesday's Greinke masterpiece shouldn't be surprising at all. The man who once disappeared from baseball with social anxiety disorder leads the AL in ERA, but also leads it in strikeouts with a career high 197. Of those 197, a whopping 107 have used his slider for the put-out pitch.
Those kind of numbers make for an intriguing claim: Greinke really might have the single best pitch in baseball. Sure, it doesn't hurt that he can also rear back and toss in a 97 mile-per-hour fastball (and a truly plus-plus curveball doesn't hurt either), but Greinke's slider is so overpowering that you get the impression he could be a pretty impressive closer using just that pitch.
So, we want to know: Who has MLB's best pitch? Is it Greinke's slider? Does Mariano Rivera's cut fastball still cut the mustard? What about Johan Santana's change up? What about Josh Beckett's (or Joel Zumaya's) heater?
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