The Astros’ Lance McCullers Jr. closed a two-inning save to send Houston to the World Series. He finished that save by going to his signature pitch 24 times in a row.
McCullers Jr. is famous for his curveball. Earlier this year, his grip was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, leading an article about how breaking balls had reshaped baseball. In Game 7 of the ALCS, McCullers reshaped the outcome of the 2017 MLB season.
With a 4-0 lead over the New York Yankees, McCullers Jr. was called in to record the final six outs and send the Astros to their first World Series since 2005. The Yankees were able to put a man on base but then McCullers went to his signature pitch 24 consecutive times and slammed the door (h/t Sports Illustrated).
He retired Chase Headly on seven curves, Brett Gardner on four and Aaron Judge on three, all ranging in the mid to high 80s. Then he came back out and finished Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird. That is downright disgusting, honestly.
If you prefer to watch that nasty breaking ball break the Yankees over and over again, here’s a video with all 24 pitches looped together.
McCullers Jr. was sterling against New York in the ALCS — pitching 10 innings, striking out 9 hitters and allowing just a single run. He could have an opportunity to continue his dominance as the Astros continue their push for the ultimate prize.
The Astros will now take on the Los Angeles Dodgers, who advanced past the Chicago Cubs last Thursday with an 11-1 victory in Game 5 of the NLCS. Game 1 of the World Series will be played Tuesday, Oct. 24 in Dodger Stadium, and feature a matchup of former Cy Young Award winners, with Dallas Keuchel and Clayton Kershaw as the likely starters.