- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot blogger
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— Matthew Grilli (@themattgrilli) October 3, 2013
Good question, Matthew, as we watch Wainwright mow down the Pirates in Game 1 of their series.
Of course, no pitch works all by itself. Wainwright has a cutter and a fastball that he uses in conjunction with the curve. But, yes, his curveball is pretty awesome. Let's look at some of the best pitches of this postseason, by looking at the numbers in plate appearances ending against that specific pitch.
Adam Wainwright's curve: 268 PAs, .171 average, 3 HR, 9 XBH, 115 SO, 9 BB
A reader named Chet Lemonade (real name?) asked about Max Scherzer's slider. The numbers: 143 PAs, .130 average, 2 HR, 4 XBH, 53 SO, 5 BB.
As good as Wainwright's curve is, it pales next to these numbers:
Clayton Kershaw's curve: 146 PAs, .096 average, 0 HR, 0 XBH, 80 SO, 0 BB.
Wow ... I mean, that's not fair. No extra-base hits, no walks, only 14 singles in 146 at-bats. Incredible. Can that be topped?
Craig Kimbrel's slider: 82 PAs, .100 average, 0 HR, 0 XBH, 53 SO, 1 BB, 1 HBP.
Even more impressive: Kimbrel hasn't allowed an extra-base hit off his slider in the past two seasons.
Here's another reliever with a knockout breaking ball:
Mark Melancon's curveball: 69 PAs, .147 average, 0 HR, 0 XBH, 40 SO, 0 BB.
Batters are hitting just .089 off Koji Uehara's splitter, but if he leaves it up, they can do some damage and have five doubles and two home runs.
OK, we could dig deeper, but we're not going to beat Kershaw's curveball or Kimbrel's slider, undoubtedly two of the most unhittable pitches of all time.