Dodgers will see plenty of curveballs from Astros’ Lance McCullers in Game 3
HOUSTON — Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill revived his career largely on the strength of one pitch: the curveball. Among all pitchers who threw at least 100 innings during the regular season, only one pitcher threw a curveball more often than Hill, who deployed his 37.5 percent of the time.
That’s actually down a bit from last year, when Hill was above 49 percent. That set a record for curveball usage in a single season since at least 2008, when MLB began tracking pitch types.
This year Hill, who started Game 2 of the World Series, has nothing on Lance McCullers Jr.
McCullers, who will start Game 3 on Friday for the Houston Astros, outpaced everyone by throwing his curveball 47.4 percent of the time. That figure would likely increase if postseason games were included. In an emergency relief appearance in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, McCullers threw 24 consecutive curveballs to end the game.
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It worked, too. McCullers used all those curveballs to retire six Yankees hitters on four strikeouts and two fly balls after he walked Todd Frazier – on three fastballs and a changeup.
Hill was watching.
“It was awesome,” he said. “Strategically I think what you’re risking is for the opportunity for the hitter to see multiple breaking balls in a row, and it would almost become automatic – like they are able to see the same pitch over […]