Beyond the Boxscore has an article up about Mariano Rivera and his cutter, otherwise known as the Hammer of God. It is a fascinating post that uses various methods to display how incredibly amazing that one pitch really is:
But it’s not Rivera’s stat line that makes him an anomaly, especially since it’s not that far removed from his career numbers. What made Rivera’s 2008 so different was his nearly complete reliance on one pitch to achieve it, and it wasn’t even a traditional fastball. I’m talking of course about what some have dubbed the greatest pitch in the history of the game, his cutter.
I called Rivera an anomaly was because he threw the fastball less than any other pitcher with at least 50 IP last year except for Tim Wakefield. Per Fangraphs, he threw the fastball 18% of the time, and the cutter 82% of the time. That 82% is also the second highest for any single pitch, only Daniel Cabrera threw a single pitch more often (fastball, 82.6% of the time). That one pitch was not quite as successful as Riveras though…..
Rivera doesn’t throw his fastball to LHB. Well, I guess he threw one last year to Brian Giles, but otherwise lefties can just sit on the cutter. And hit .147/.173/.194 off it last year in 134 PA. Haha, does that make so little sense to anyone else? For major league LHBs to know exactly what pitch is coming at exactly what time, and just fail to do anything with it. So awesome.
Go check out the post, it is a really excellent look at what exactly it is that makes Mariano so good. Considering that he has lost little velocity and no control, there is no reason to believe that 2009 will not be more of the same.