SEATTLE MARINERS

Mariners’ Matt Brash just made one of MLB’s best hitters look ridiculous

Mar 30, 2023, 9:29 PM | Updated: 11:15 pm

Mariners Matt Brash...

Matt Brash reacts during a Mariners game against the San Diego Padres on Sept. 13, 2022. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Remember when Mariners reliever Matt Brash was in the news this winter because a pitching expert said his slider may be the “best pitch” in MLB history?

Well, Brash did something in Seattle’s 3-0 opening night win over Cleveland to back up that claim.

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Facing Guardians All-Star José Ramírez in the seventh inning, Brash dropped a 3-2 breaking ball that looked like it would cross the plate but actually ended up somehow behind Ramírez’s back knee – because the break Brash can produce is, well, ridiculous. Not only did Ramírez take a hearty and futile hack at the pitch, but he was essentially sent flying like a cartoon character by his own swing.

Watch it here:

Mariners reporter Daniel Kramer of MLB.com has a longer video, plus some eye-popping numbers on the pitch, at this link.

The fact that it was Ramírez that Brash dominated in the plate appearance is something worth writing home about. Ramírez is a four-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger winner, and in 2022 he slashed .280/.355/.514 with 29 home runs and an MLB-leading 44 doubles. Simply put, he’s been one of the best hitters in the game for a while now.

Brash told Seattle Sports’ Mike Lefko after the game that he didn’t even see that Ramírez had fallen on the strikeout.

As you may recall, it was Driveline Baseball director of pitching Chris Langin who joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob last month and said this about Brash’s slider: “I think you could pretty realistically say his slider is maybe the best pitch in terms of pitch movement and velocity in major league history. I actually think it’s, like, absurd how good the stuff of that pitch is.”

Now here comes the really crazy part: the pitch that Brash used to strike Ramírez out wasn’t even the slider. According to the live Gameday on MLB.com, it was a knuckle-curve. So yeah, Brash just embarrassed one of the best hitters in baseball with one of his pitches that isn’t the one he has that could be called the best in MLB history.

What’s the deal with the insane amount of break Brash is able to get with his pitches?

“Brash has very unusual fingers,” Langin said. “… His middle finger, he can hook the ball, like… the only guys I can think of is maybe Alex Cobb with the Giants and Marcus Stroman (of the Cubs). I don’t even know really how to explain it but (how) he can grip the ball, I think it’s why he spins it’s so darn well and just applies force to the ball forever.”

The 24-year-old Brash worked around a single and struck out two in a scoreless inning of work in Game 1 of the Mariners’ four-game series with Cleveland, reaching 99 mph with his fastball along the way. After a promising showing as a reliever for Seattle in the second half and playoffs last season, plus an impressive couple of outings for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic, Brash appears primed for a breakout campaign in 2023 out of the bullpen.

More on the Mariners from Seattle Sports

• The hottest Mariners takes for the 2023 season from Seattle Sports
• Drayer’s Mariners Preview: What to watch as the 2023 season begins
• Salk: Mariners have a chance to go farther than any team in their history
• Mariners Breakdown: Will they take the next step in 2023?
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