5 Awful Wild Pitches You Have to See to Believe
Over the course of their careers, major league pitchers throw tens of thousands of pitches. Most of them will end up in the general vicinity of the catcher’s glove. Others will miss so badly that baseball fans will have no choice but to laugh at the ugly result. Here are a few examples of some incredibly bad pitches:
Zito Throws a Ground Ball
Poor Barry Zito. When the quirky left-hander signed his seven-year, $126 million deal with the San Francisco Giants, he was considered one of the best pitchers in the major leagues. Since then, it’s been nothing but high earned run averages and disappointments for the former Cy Young winner. In this case, the ball slips out of Zito’s hand and lands about halfway to home plate before dribbling weakly to the catcher. Look on the bright side, Barry—if the fans are laughing, they can’t complain about your contract.
For most pitchers, successfully completing an intentional walk is on par with asking a batter to hit the ball off a tee. Just don’t tell that to Kevin Jepsen. On May 12, 2011, the Angels rookie launched a pitch about 10 feet over the head of catcher Hank Conger. The misfire handed the White Sox the go-ahead run in the 10th inning of a tie game, and prompted long-time Angels manager Mike Scioscia to remark, “I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen that.”
For the Guy in the front row
Washington Nationals flamethrower Henry Rodriguez is no stranger to control issues. In 2011, he uncorked a National League-leading 14 wild pitches, and was well on his way to dominating that category this year before injuring his finger. In this July 2011 outing, Rodriguez blows a one-run lead against the Dodgers by nearly throwing the ball into the stands. Judging by Vin Scully’s “You knew that was coming” comment, it’s fair to say that the young hurler is developing a bit of a reputation.
None of Freddy Garcia’s wild pitches in this April 2012 start were particularly horrendous — there were just way too many of them. The Yankees starter launched five errant offerings past Russell Martin in the outing, the most in a regular season game in over 20 years. New York somehow held on to beat the Orioles, 5-4, but Freddy was probably too busy hiding out in shame to notice.
The Real ‘Wild Thing’
Cardinals fans are still trying to understand this performance by Rick Ankiel. The 21-year-old phenom had wowed baseball fans throughout the 2000 MLB season, displaying an overpowering fastball and dominant curveball en route to 194 strikeouts. Sadly, the young pitcher unraveled during the 2000 playoffs, throwing 12 wild pitches in just three appearances. His worst performance came in the NLCS against the New York Mets, when he was yanked after just 20 pitches. Ankiel never regained his pitching form after the debacle, but did bounce back to enjoy a solid career as an outfielder.