The Philadelphia Phillies crushed the Houston Astros on Tuesday in Game 3 of the World Series. The team hit a record-tying five home runs off Lance McCullers, Jr. in a 7-0 win, and there were rumblings the Astros starter was tipping his pitches. McCullers blamed it on just a bad day, but given his past performance, it leaves us wondering.
Tipped pitches can make for a bad day for just about any pitcher — except Randy Johnson, apparently. The Big Unit pitched for 22 seasons and entered the Hall of Fame second all time in strikeouts, all while apparently tipping his fastball and slider for the entirety of his career.
In 2018, Eduardo Perez was in the booth at the College World Series, and he decided to chat about a conversation he had with Johnson. In the conversation, the Big Unit showed him how he tightened up his glove for his fastball and left it loose for his slide. Perez even took some pictures with Johnson showing the glove grip.
Randy Johnson tipped his pitches his whole career. pic.twitter.com/MvBumJXc06— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) November 2, 2022
When you’ve got stuff that’s as nasty as Randy Johnson’s pitches, I suppose it’s not really a surprise he could get away with batters being able to figure out what’s coming. He had a Hall of Fame fastball and slider and you still generally weren’t going to be able to hit it.
For those wondering, it appears that for his career, Perez had nine hits across 33 at bats with four home runs against Johnson. Chipper Jones had the most career home runs against the Big Unit with six.