Navy baseball fans have known about the type of junk Oliver Drake can toss when he needs to get an out. In 2008 for the Mids, he went 6-3 while striking out 78 batters in 80.1 innings of work. That summer, he was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles.
Drake’s pro baseball career has been full of highs and lows since then, but on Saturday, he made everyone with a Twitter account stop and look at an utterly ridiculous pitch that he tossed to get out of a jam against the Chicago White Sox.
Facing Leury Garcia, Drake — who now plays for the Tampa Bay Rays — let go of a pitch that started out at the left of the plate, then broke towards the right. It was like a left-handed slider, but Drake is a righty. The pitch defied everything anyone knows about pitching mechanics and gravity, and Garcia came up empty when he tried to place his bat on it.
See it for yourself.
This pitch might have broken physics. pic.twitter.com/9M62Y5gzRt— MLB (@MLB) July 21, 2019
After the game, Drake told Kenny Morales of Spectrum Sports 360 that the pitch was a splitter.
“That’s kind of a pitch I use a lot and I usually get some pretty good results with it,” Drake told Morales. “I was just trying to get it down and away, and fortunately it ended up there and I got him to chase… I don’t really have any social media, but I got a lot of messages and texts from people who said they saw it on various platforms.”
Oliver Drake's Mechanics/Splitter Slowed Down.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 21, 2019
It doesn't really help stop my head from hurting. pic.twitter.com/sPYdNP3jyt
Since making his big-league debut with the Orioles in 2015, Drake, 32, has bounced around major and minor league baseball, spending time with the Brewers, Indians, Angels, Blue Jays and Twins before joining the Rays this season.
In 23 appearances for Tampa so far this season, the 6-foot-4 righty tallied 30 strikeouts and allowed nine runs for a 3.33 ERA.
If you saw that Oliver Drake splitter yesterday and were wondering how it moved like that... it's his extreme vertical release point.— David Adler (@_dadler) July 21, 2019
Drake's a righty but the ball comes from the lefty side of the rubber, basically out of a left-hander's arm slot. He's like a lefty in disguise. pic.twitter.com/xumtgfi5Rn
Drake spent two years at the Naval Academy where he racked up 130 strikeouts and allowed just two home runs over 147 innings. He withdrew from the academy after the Orioles drafted him, which came after his sophomore season and before he would’ve made his military commitment as a junior.