Pa Rob Friedman aka “The Pitching Ninja”
FOX Sports MLB analyst

2022 year MLB The Wild-Card Series featured some truly wild innings — well, not technically “wild,” but you get the idea.

Here are my dirtiest innings from this weekend’s games.

Andres Munoz: 103 mph magic

According to Codify Baseball, not only was this the fastest pitch in the postseason in five years, but that fastball traveled an amazing 18 inches! Vladimir Guerrero JrThe breathless reaction says it all.

Here’s that 103 mph mutant pitch with a tail that really accentuates the absurd motion.

Luis Castillo: A wicked fastball move

Luis Castillo pitched 7⅓ scoreless innings vs Toronto Blue Jays, and after looking at the movement of his 99- and 100-mph sinkers and four-seam fastballs, you’ll understand why. It’s a miracle anyone can put a bat on the ball against La Piedra.

This 99 mph sinker not only dropped like it was made of lead, but also traveled an incredible 21 inches.

Vlady fell victim to another amazing fastball as this 99 mph two-seam completely ate him up. Absolutely unfair!

Finally, those 100 mph two-seam and four-seam fastballs show just how impossible Castillo’s pitches can be. Things that move so fast shouldn’t move so fast!

Jacob deGrom: Burning Juan Soto

yes San Diego Padres won the series, but deGrom won this battle. Honestly, the fight should have ended after the first submission when Soto shuffled himself to the ground. But Soto got up, only to be quickly finished off by the full flames.

As the Targaryens would say: Dracarys!

Yu Darvish: Attractive round ball at 67 mph

After all that heat, it’s time to slow down a bit. Darvish threw the slowest pitch of the wild card round with this gorgeous, slow curveball.

Darvish is a master of changing speeds. In this overlay, you can see how the difference in speeds and the movement of his curveball throw hitters off balance.

Tristan McKenzie: Hammer Curveball

Dr. Sticks recorded eight strikeouts while giving up just two hits in six scoreless innings. McKenzie’s success was largely due to his vicious curveball. In 2022, opponents hit .120 in the field with a staggering 45% whiff rate.

Check out the drop on this one.

McKenzie excels at using elevated fastballs to make his curveball even more effective. Here’s an overlay of his fastball and curveball — you can see why it’s a hitter’s nightmare. Pitches start in one plane and then the curveball simply disappears, leaving the batters reeling in the air.

Joe Musgrove: Bonus

On Sunday, Musgrove made a brilliant elimination New York Mets. He became the first pitcher in postseason history to go seven or more innings and give up less than two hits in an MLB elimination game.

Of course, the game was also remembered for the “foreign substance check” midway through the game, when the umpiring team checked Musgrove’s ears at the urging of Mets manager Buck Showalter.

A search yielded nothing – well, except this:

Okay, I made it up.

I can’t wait for the next round of playoffs and some more dirty fields!

Rob Friedman is an MLB pitching analyst for FOX Sports whose work has been featured on many Major League Baseball broadcasts. Follow him on Twitter @PitchingNinja.

Get more from Major League Baseball Follow your favorites to stay updated on games, news and more