Facing Clayton Kershaw is already a ridiculously hard task for major league hitters.
He's a three-time Cy Young award winner with a repertoire that includes a fastball that has averaged 93 miles per hour and been clocked as high as 98 mph, according to FanGraphs' data. Add in having to prepare for a hard slider, the massive break of his curveball and the occasional changeup and the odds are stacked against your average major league hitter.
On Thursday, Kershaw added a new wrinkle for batters to have to think about when he dropped in a 46-mph eephus curveball against Braves catcher Tyler Flowers.
Kershaw explained in a post-game TV interview that he was trying to quick pitch a fastball before Flowers was set in the batter's box, but Flowers quickly gathered himself and catcher A.J. Ellis called an off-speed pitch. Rather than cross up Ellis with the fastball, Kershaw soft-tossed an eephus curveball.
Flowers did not swing at the pitch, which broke across the plate and could have easily been called a strike even though it ended up hitting the dirt. However, Kershaw struck out Flowers for one of his 10 strikeouts in the game. Kershaw also gave up 10 hits, but only allowed one run in eight innings. The Dodgers won 3-2 in 10 innings.