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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Clayton Kershaw tips pitches out of the stretch (GIF)

Clayton Kershaw tip pitches

Why is Clayton Kershaw so effective against every team in baseball … and why does he look like his usual Cy Young Award-winning self when pitching against the St. Louis Cardinals from a windup, but then turn into a pumpkin when he pitches from a stretch against them? The answer is because he tips his pitches and the Cardinals likely figured out his tell.

Back when the Cardinals blew Kershaw up for 8 runs in the 7th inning of Game 1 of the 2014 NLDS after only scoring one run off him in the previous six innings, the talk was that the Cardinals were relaying signs to the batter from second base. While that may have been the case, it seems like they also know when his curveball is coming.

Former major leaguer Marlon Anderson tweeted on Friday night during Game 1 of the NLDS that Kershaw was tipping his pitches from the stretch and the Cardinals figured out what his tip was:

As Anderson mentioned, the Cardinals figured out Kershaw last postseason. They blew up the southpaw for 10 hits and seven runs over 4-plus innings in the series-clinching Game 6. We never saw Kershaw get hit around that badly in the regular season, so something definitely didn’t make sense. Tipping pitches from a stretch certainly explains things.

So how does Kershaw tip pitches? Former MLB reliever Danny Graves closely reviewed video of Kershaw pitching from a stretch and figured out that the Cy Young winner slightly twists his wrist when he’s grabbing the ball for a curveball grip as he’s coming set from a stretch:

Mike Petriello of Dodgers Digest, who grabbed the GIF, thought Kershaw’s Game 1 collapse was due to the lefty throwing fat pitches and changing his arm slot, possibly because he was tired. I definitely see the wrist twitch to which Graves was referring and strongly believe that is enough to give the Cardinals a huge edge on Kershaw. Is it coincidence that they rarely get hits off him when he’s in a windup but start teeing off when he’s in a stretch/have a runner at second? I don’t think so.



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