There are several amazing pitchers taking the mound this week on Sling TV, but seeing the Metropolitans’ Matt Harvey smoke an inside fastball past hitters might not surprise you quite as much as a pitch the Tigers’ Alfredo Simon has hidden up his sleeve.
The Eephus pitch might sound like baseball’s equivalent of the Yeti or Big Foot because not many fans have ever actually seen it live in a game. But every few years a video will surface of the pitch freezing a batter for a strikeout on a toss that usually doesn’t register more than 60 m.p.h. or so.
Despite its reputation as a junk pitch, even power arms like Yu Darvish and Randy Johnson have been known to throw it on occasion.
The pitch’s power lies in its surprise.
About 70 years ago, Pirates pitcher Rip Sewell popularized the pitch, which is basically a slow, overhand lob to the plate. The pitch has also had many names, usually depending on who throws it. At various times it has been called the LaLob, the Folly Floater, Dead Fish, Soap Bubble, and the Fossum Flip, among others.
Simon just calls his a slow splitter.
“I just want the hitter, the eyes, to see a slow pitch, and then when I come with a hard two-seamer, it’s going to be hard for them to hit the ball,” said Simon, who has pitched well for the Detroit since coming over from Cincinnati. In six starts this season, the righty has a 3.44 ERA and four wins.
Will he throw the Eephus on Sunday night when he faces the Cardinals? You’ll have to watch and see.
Here’s the week’s TV schedule.
Monday, May 11
All times eastern
Atlanta at Cincinnati, 7pm (ESPN)
Shelby Miller vs Mike Leake
Wednesday, May 13
New York at Chicago, 8pm (ESPN)
Matt Harvey vs Jason Hammel
Sunday, May 17
Detroit at St. Louis, 8pm (ESPN)
Alfredo Simon vs Lance Lynn