Dodgers Fireballers’ Velocity Puts Them In Rare Company

It didn’t pay off in a win, but in the first game of the 2020 National League Championship Series, the Dodgers tried to blow the Braves away with velocity.

From Walker Buehler to Brusdar Graterol to Dustin May to Blake Treinen, the Dodgers sent four pitchers to the mound who touched 98 mph or harder, with May’s 101 mph topping the list.

That got us to thinking, is that the hardest throwing trio or quartet who has ever thrown in a playoff game?

The Pitch FX and Statcast eras where every pitch is recorded by MLB by optical or doppler radar means only goes back to 2008. But that’s far enough back to feel semi-comfortable that you’re not going to find three three pitchers capable of tickling triple digits going back-to-back-to-back before that. Apologies to the Reds “Nasty Boys” of 1990, but we’re not buying that Rob Dibble (yes), Norm Charlton (maybe) and Randy Myers (no) all touched 100. The one we’d love to look back at is the Oct. 27, 2006 game where the Tigers sent Justin Verlander, Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya to the mound in the same game.

When it comes to trios, what the Dodgers did is special, but not all that special. It’s not the hardest-throwing trio in postseason history. What Buehler (who touched 98 mph), Graterol (100) and May (101) did has actually been equalled this postseason thanks to the Rays combination of Tyler Glasnow (101), Diego Castillo (98) and Peter Fairbanks (100) who did that on Oct. 6. That same trio nearly equalled those marks on Oct. 9, but Glasnow dropped to 100 mph as his peak velocity in that outing.

The hardest-throwing trio in postseason history came on Oct. 3, 2017 when Yankees starter Luis Severino and relievers Tommy Kahnle and Aroldis Chapman all touched 100 mph in the same game. Chapman made it even more impressive by touching 103 mph in that game. (As an aside, there have been 15 pitches of 103 mph or harder in the postseason as recorded by Statcast, Chapman has 14 of them including four pitches that touched 104. Justin Verlander is the only other pitcher to touch 103 in the postseason).

That is the only game where three pitchers for the same team reached triple digits in the same game. But there have been a number of games where three pitchers got to 98 mph or harder with at least one of those pitchers touching 100. Having Chapman on your team does seem to make it a little easier to reach that mark.

Three pitchers, one team, 98 mph plus in one postseason game with someone touching 100
Rangers, Oct. 1, 2011: Derek Holland (99), Alexi Ogando (99) and Neftali Feliz (100)
Cardinals, Oct. 12, 2012: Jason Motte (101), Mitchell Boggs (98) and Trevor Rosenthal (101)
Cardinals, Oct. 16, 2013: Joe Kelly (100), Kevin Siegrist (99) and John Axford (98)
Rangers Oct 8, 2015: Sam Dyson (99), Jake Diekman (100) and Keone Kela (98)
Royals, Oct. 11, 2014: Yordano Ventura (100), Kelvin Herrera (101) and Wade Davis (99)
Royals, Oct. 22, 2014: Kelvin Herrera (102), Yordano Ventura (101 mph) and Wade Davis (98)
Royals, Oct. 9, 2015: Kelvin Herrera (100), Ryan Madson (98( and Wade Davis (98)
Mets, Oct. 15, 2015: Noah Syndergaard (101), Jake DeGrom (99) and Jeurys Familia (99)
Royals, Oct. 21, 2015: Edinson Volquez (99), Danny Duffy (99) and Kelvin Herrera (100)
Royals, Oct. 23, 2015: Yordano Ventura (99), Kelvin Herrera (101) and Wade Davis (99)
Yankees, Oct. 3, 2017: Luis Severino (100 mph), Tommy Kahnle (100 mph) and Aroldis Chapman (103 mph)
Yankees, Oct. 6, 2017: Tommy Kahnle (99), Dellin Betances (99) and Aroldis Chapman (102)
Yankees, Oct. 9, 2017: Luis Severino (100), Tommy Kahnle (99), Dellin Betances (99)
Yankees, Oct. 3, 2018: Luis Severino (100), Dellin Betances (99) and Aroldis Chapman (101)
Astros, Oct. 14, 2018: Gerrit Cole (99), Josh James (100) and Hector Rondon (99)
Red Sox, Oct. 23, 2018: Nate Eovaldi (101), Joe Kelly (100) and Craig Kimbrel (99)
Yankees, Oct. 13, 2019: Jonathan Loaisiga (99), Tommy Kahnle (98) and Aroldis Chapman (101)
Rays, Oct. 6, 2020: Tyler Glasnow (101), Diego Castillo (98), Peter Fairbanks (100)
Dodgers, Oct. 6, 2020: Walker Buehler (99 mph), Dustin May (100) and Blake Treinen (99)
Rays, Oct. 9, 2020: Tyler Glasnow (100), Diego Castillo (98), Peter Fairbanks (100)

But when it comes to quartets, the Dodgers do get into rare air. This is the first time we could find in the quantified (2008-present) era that a team had four pitchers touch 98 in a game where two of them touched 100 mph or higher.

And the hardest-throwing foursomes:

Cardinals, Oct. 11, 2013: Michael Wacha (99), Carlos Martinez (99), Kevin Siegrist (99) and Trevor Rosenthal (101)
Cardinals, Oct. 26, 2013: Trevor Rosenthal (100), Carlos Martinez (99), Joe Kelly (99) and Kevin Siegrist (99).
Dodgers, Oct. 12, 2020: Walker Buehler (98), Brusdar Graterol (100), Dustin May (101) and Blake Treinen (98)

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