Monday, February 26, 2024
Home > Opinion > Numberfire Breaks Down Clayton Kershaw’s Eephus Pitch

Numberfire Breaks Down Clayton Kershaw’s Eephus Pitch

Clayton Kershaw

Remember when Clayton Kershaw tossed that 46-mph eephus ball on Thursday afternoon in Atlanta? The floater befuddled batter Tyler Flowers and the Braves, and delighted everyone on twitter. It was something you don’t normally see every day, especially from a three-time Cy Young award winner who is notorious for sawing off bats like he was tossing chainsaws to the plate.

Apparently Kershaw was not supposed to throw that pitch, nor did he have any intention too. It was accidental, but awesome to look at nonetheless. Kershaw ended up pitching eight innings and striking out ten in a Dodger 2-1 win in extra innings. There was more behind the rare pitch than we originally thought.

Our friends at took a look behind the numbers of that unique pitch. It’s only been done four other times this season by three other pitchers. The other pitchers on that list might surprise you. Before you dive into the stats from the numberfire guys, I think it’s important to know where the term comes from.

Former pitcher Rip Sewell was a starting pitcher back in the 1940’s well known for perplexing hitters with a really slow pitch. Sewell was a right hander that pitched for the Pirates from 1938-1949. He didn’t strike out many guys. He recorded just 636 whiffs in over 2100 innings logged. His strikeout per nine rate was a meager 2.7. However he recorded a 3.48 ERA and won 143 games. He even had a 21-win season in 1943 for the Bucs.

Technically Maurice Van Robays is credited with naming the pitch. When asked about it by reporters, he commented “eephus aint nothing, and that’s a nothing pitch”. When asked about the pitch, Sewell would say that it was his “Eephus”. The exact origin is still not confirmed, but many people believe that was the origins.

Bill “spaceman” Lee also threw one of his own as well. He referred to his as a “moon ball”, or a “Leephus”. He actually threw one to Red’s infielder Tony Perez in game 7 of the 1975 World Series. Boston was up 3-0 at the time, and the result was a monstrous two-run home run over the green monster. The Red Sox lost the game and the World Series, by a run.

The only home run Sewell allowed via the eephus pitch (he was a master at throwing it) was to hall of famer Ted Williams, which was in the 1946 all-star game. The pitch has several other nicknames as well, which include Bugs bunny curve, Balloon ball, rainbow pitch, and Monty Brewster.

Oh and maybe this guy should sue for copyright

It’s a cool name.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

56 thoughts on “Numberfire Breaks Down Clayton Kershaw’s Eephus Pitch

    1. Was he a Yankee? I remember they had a pitcher who would use that pitch.

      So it was an accident? How do you accidentally throw a specific pitch? Guess it just slipped out of his hand.

  1. Maybe those of you who live in California have read plenty about the minor league team that experimented with extreme sabermetrics, but if not, here is a story about that from the NY Times today.

    1. Hpwolfe interesting story. It just shows that no one way, is the right way. It is best, to keep one’s mind, open to all possibilities.

  2. Interesting read Wolfe.

    It would appear metrics are here to stay. I accept it. Old schoolers, like myself, will still look at what we always did. My long time favorites have been BA, OBP and slugging % for hitters, ERA, WHIP and IP for pitchers. It’s my experience that if those numbers are good, so will be all the others now being looked at. As a coach I look for players who hustle and listen to instruction. Those that don’t do either, but have enormous talent, are the most frustrating to work with. The younger players you can discipline. Once they make it to millionaire status, you may have lost them. I don’t know anymore. I do know that if I were managing, I would want access to ALL information. I still believe, in theory anyway, that the FAZ approach has merit, I just question the choices they’ve made. I do see talent here. Where is the algorithm for keeping these guys on the field?

    1. Badger when you say ERA for pitchers. I assume just SP. To me ERA for BP pitchers are totally useless in that it doesn’t give an accurate measure of their effectiveness, like inherited runners they are allowed to score.

      1. I see your point.

        A bullpen guy with a high ERA probably has a WHIP up there as well. I believe good bullpen pitchers won’t have high ERA’s, but I could be proven wrong on that.

    2. I hope the hitting instructor talks to Puig about hitting the ball, where it is pitched, and start hitting the ball, the other way. Because Puig hasn’t been hitting to much, and has not had many good at bats lately. Puig is constantly trying to pull the ball, and when Puig is hitting well, he is hitting to the right side of the field.

      1. I believe I see the same thing you are seeing MJ. He appears to be feeling his oats, wanting to jerk everything. Some of it is working, but I don’t believe the approach is sustainable.

        1. Badger he is always going for a hit in between third and short, or over the infielders there. He should be trying to drive the ball, into the gaps in the outfield.

          1. I think his custom Cuban bat was 6″ more than MLB allows. Obviously chasing more than half of those pitches down and away is knucklehead revisited. I can sympathize, I know the dangers of winning.

          2. I agree. If its middle in and it’s the pitch you’re looking for – turn on it. Middle out, drive it the right center gap.

  3. Kyle Farmer with another 3 hits yesterday, playing 3B at Tulsa. Hitting .360+. They should move him back up to OKC. I can see him replacing AJ next year.

    1. The front office is paying 50 million dollars for players they signed, that is now on the DL, and for players, that are not on the Dodgers this year.

    2. Good read. I’ve been saying since the purchase money is not an issue. I got a lot of pushback on that. Yes, I believe they do want to get payroll lower, but if the right deal presents itself, I would like to think they will pull the trigger on it. Maybe not this year though.

      1. Badger, would you say that FAZ did not consider Greinke’s 6th year the right kind of deal? They were reluctant to go 5 but 5 might have been close enough to the right kind of deal. Zimmerman could have been the right kind of deal.

        I think you are right about FAZ willingness to do the right kind of deal but I don’t know what they think that is.

        1. I think they thought Greinke was coming back and what they offered was more than fair. Would they have offered the 6th year if they had time to think about it? I doubt it. I think they believe they can get whoever they want starting in two years so, adios Zach. I’m not sure what they were thinking with Howie. Guess you just can’t have too many second basemen.

  4. Against a right hander I think that is probably their best lineup. I also think the Dodgers need a strong right handed hitter and Puig is trying to fill that role. He was at the beginning of the season but he isn’t doing it now. Still, they need a good right hand bat toward the top of the lineup and Puig is all they have. But if Turner were available, I would drop Puig down in the lineup, maybe all the way down to 6th.

    1. Puig is really not a RBI guy. Turner is the one that the Dodgers are missing, because when he has played, he hasn’t hit to much.

      He got a hit in his last at bat, and then he got injured. If Howie started hitting, I think he would be a good number two, in the batting order.

      I just think that they should move Cory to sixth or seventh, in the batting order, so he will get better pitches to hit. Let Cory start hitting, and heating up, and then maybe, talk about putting him higher, in the batting order. It has taken Cory a little while, after he was moved up, to start hitting, but after a while, he did fine.

      Turner and Howie, just need to start hitting. Howie came up again, with runners on base, and did nothing.

  5. Disagree, MJ. Batting 2nd will allow Seager to see better pitches than batting 6-7.

    He’s started to swing really well (aside from the triple he just hit). He just missed 3 hr in Atl last week. His swing is coming. He’s one of the few I don’t worry about. He’s the franchise

    1. Bobby I’m not worried about Cory. I just think it would make it easier for Cory. I can’t wait to see what Cory is doing, come July, when he is better seasoned. I think Cory would get good pitches, batting second, if Turner starts hitting, but Turner, has not been hitting.

  6. You guys were talking the other day about pepper ball. Alana showed us today that they were playing pepper ball today and Pederson was one of the guys playing. That home run by Pederson was a compact swing. They got there hitting shoes on today. Thompson looks good to me. I would like to see more of him in left field. Let the young guys develop.

    Has anybody heard anything about Guerrero?

    1. ya the timing of the pepper video was perfect. Joc swung nice and softly and hit it 400 feet.

      Wood with a great 3ip so far

    1. Non of those Runs should have scored. I hate when the Rockies, are less then a grand slam away. We still need to get more runs, and play error less ball.

  7. Somebody should check on Watford. He has a hangover and Crystal Palace beat him. And he might be surrounded by Irish. Cheers Watford!!!!! At least you made it to 50!!!! Joined the club mate!!!!

  8. No lead safe in that ballpark.

    Saw the pepper game video. I wonder when it stopped being a thing. I did it on every team I ever played on.

    1. Can you believe this? Hatcher throws the exactly same pitch, that was suppose to be up, right down the middle of the plate again. Just like he did the other day. He is the weak link in this bullpen. He has no command of his pitches. And after everyone else in the bullpen before him, didn’t allow a single run. And they pitched with the bases loaded. Hatcher came in, with no body on base, and almost gives up a HR, that is a double. Then he gives up a single, and a run scores. And couldn’t get three outs.

  9. I expect to see Matt West, Joe Thatcher, or Ian Thomas by 5/1, and one of Neddy Jr.’s incompetents gone, or Neddy Jr. will always be a mental Eunuch in my book.

  10. You never know what you might get with this group, but I’m seeing some seriously ugly ERA numbers in this box score.

  11. I think I am the only one that thinks that fans should stay off the field and players should stay out of the stands. If fans get kicked out of a game for going on the field, players should be kicked out of the game for going into the stands.

    Thompson should have been given an error on the ball that landed at his feet.

    Kike should hit for Thompson and not Joc.

  12. What a game !!! Makes for a long day and as Badger would say, a long season.

    Dodger pitching in general today – stinks. Wood was OK for awhile. Maybe is is just a 3 inning pitcher, then take him out.

    Hatcher & Avilan between them recorded 1 out, but gave in 4 hits, 3 walks, and 5 runs. And between them recorded just 1 out. Now that is hard to do.

    Baez needs some fielding help.

    I really question starting Kendrick. He still needs to get work somewhere else. Camelback or AAA. he is 6 for 35. All 6 singles. Today 1 for 5 so far.

  13. Wood and Kazmir – 1 good start out of 4 each. That won’t cut it.

    ‘Pen still inconsistent. Hatcher not good enough for 8th inning gig.

  14. Wow what a crazy game. Now Kenley just has to do his job for us to win a game we should have lost we should have won

  15. Haha, i could just imagine all of us sitting together watching this game. What a crazy back and forth range of emotions.

  16. What’s up with Cargo. He misses the foul ball and then holds it up as he comes out of the stands saying he caught it. Will players that try to cheat wind up on the losing team?

    1. This has to be a big bonding session, and a great example, what a team can do, when they play like a team! And that they did!

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