Luckily, his out-of-this-world rotating power washer of a sinker has arrived, just in time, to the postseason party.
As the Dodgers prepare for a do-or-die Game 5 in San Francisco, their staff is certainly more rested and refreshed than the Giants’ group, even with a day off in between. In Game 4, after Anthony DeSclafani’s early failure, Gabe Kapler burned through seven additional bullpen arms, all to secure a … 7-2 loss. Had to do it, but it can’t have felt good.
The Dodgers? Dave Roberts deployed five relievers after getting three-days’-rest Walker Buehler through 4.1 solid innings. Joe Kelly wiggled out of a jam (that’s what he does), Blake Treinen held down the late innings (of course), but Graterol was really the front-and-center surprise here.
He completed a one-hit sixth inning on just nine pitches, seven of them strikes. And those strikes? Were spectacular. Check out this nonsensical sinker, which essentially rolled across the entirety of home plate to nail the upper reaches of the inside corner.
Dodgers reliever Brusdar Graterol has leveled up in the 2021 MLB Playoffs.
The 22-year-old Graterol’s MLB career has been fascinating and perplexing up to this point.
His health concerns? Those aren’t unique, though they are frustrating. But the way batters handle his signature sinker? It’s not supposed to be this way.
In 23.1 healthy innings in 2020, he recorded just 13 strikeouts. In 2021? Those totals jumped to 33.1 and 27. How … is anyone putting bat on ball here? How is Graterol, of all people, pitching to contact instead of missing bats more consistently? His K percentage was in the bottom 7% of the league last year!
Luckily, most folks have no idea how to barrel this thing up; his percentage was just 2.9 last year, placing him in the top 4% in MLB. This season, that percentage held steady, though he wasn’t able to repeat that top-four finish.
Playoff Graterol might be a different animal, though. Just look at this “casual” get-me-over strike one to Buster Posey.
Rounds up to 103 MPH! What more do you want us to say?
The Dodgers might not be getting Jimmy Nelson or Tommy Kahnle back for the postseason run, as they intended, but it looks like a new-and-improved version of Graterol has arrived just in time. That’ll play.