Lance McCullers loves his knuckle-curveball, and for good reason.
The Houston Astros’ pitcher’s go-to pitch is so good, that the grip that creates it—not McCullers’ face—was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
That’s McCullers’ curveball grip on the May 29 cover of SI: pic.twitter.com/lNq1I2muef
— Emma Span (@emmaspan) October 22, 2017
Since pitch-tracking data become available, he’s used his curve more often than any pitcher who’s thrown more than 25 innings in their career.
On Saturday night, the 24-year-old relied on his baby to propel his squad past the New York Yankees and into the World Series for the first time in franchise history.
Typically a starter, McCullers came on in the sixth after Charlie Morton gave the team five shutout innings thanks in part to this awesome Alex Bregman throw.
McCullers was dominant over the last four frames, allowing just two baserunners and striking out six Yankees.
After a walk to Todd Frazier—in which the righty threw zero curveballs—to lead off the bottom of the eighth, McCullers didn’t bother with any other pitches.
He threw 24 straight curveballs, and the Yankees were powerless against them. McCullers was perfect the rest of the way, striking out four of his six remaining victims.
This video of Lance McCullers Jr. throwing 24 consecutive curveballs to win the pennant is glorious: https://t.co/YIDdsW8mDd
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 22, 2017
*In the future*
Me: Son, I named you after the most important thing in my life.
Lance McCullers Jr’s Curveball: Yeah, I know Dad. #Astros
— Bonner Watson (@TheBonnerLade) October 22, 2017
The Astros rode the efforts of Morton and McCullers, solo home runs from Evan Gattis and Jose Altuve, and a two-RBI double from Brian McCann to a 4-0 victory in Game 7 of the ALCS, and the right to play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. All for a city still reeling from Hurricane Harvey.
“This city, they deserve this,” McCullers said after his series-deciding save.