Jake McGee’s Curveball Could Be Ticket To All-Star Game

Jake McGee

When Jake McGee threw a curveball to strike out Manny Machado to seal the Rays’ 5-4 win against the Orioles at Camden Yards on Saturday, the rest of Major League Baseball was put on notice.

The relief pitcher was already a possible All-Star while throwing exclusively fastball, but an effective breaking ball makes him even more dangerous.

A year ago, McGee occasionally used his slider as a strikeout pitch. On 2-2 counts, when he could afford to throw a ball, he would try to get opposing hitters to chase.

Too often, though, it would lead to big hits. In 2013, he allowed a career-high eight home runs.

“My curveball, I feel more comfortable, like I can use it when I want to use it more than my slider,” McGee said. “I gave up a lot of home runs on it and stuff, and I stayed away from it a lot, but my curveball has enough break to where I’m not going to get beat with it a lot.”

Even without a quality secondary pitch for much of the season, McGee has held opposing hitters to just a .158 average while posting a 1.27 ERA without allowing a home run entering play today.