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We sent two interns to test their pitch speed against Max Scherzer’s average velocity

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We sent two interns to test their pitch speed against Max Scherzer’s average velocity

With All-Star festivities in full swing for the last two days of Fanfest as well as Monday’s Home Run Derby and Tuesday’s All-Star game, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved or test your baseball skills. 

As many viral news outlets have claimed, sometimes the best way to see how hard something is can only be trying it yourself. We headed to the Strike Out station at the 2018 Geico All-Star Fanfest to throw a couple times and calculate our average speeds.

Because every experiment needs a good methodology, each participant threw six pitches and recorded the miles per hour velocity of each throw as displayed on the counter above the target. 
Both participants were heckled lovingly by their peers and the volunteers running the station, and both received completely unprofessional feedback and adjusted accordingly between throws.

First up: Charlie. Charlie, who is currently 6’ 4”, played for his middle-school baseball team before quitting in high school at a disgruntled 14-year-old height of 5’ 4”. 
His observational knowledge of pitching physics and technique is pretty fantastic. He guessed that he could pitch 81 mph on his best of six throws.

On the first pitch, the speedometer registered 75 mph. Not to be discouraged, Charlie threw again. 76 mph. Then up one more notch to 77 mph. But not all objects in motion can stay in motion, and the fourth pitch was 75 mph. His last two throws came in at an uncanny 76 and 77 mph. 

Charlie’s 76 mph average is nothing to sneeze at, but not the 81 mph he was hoping for.

Second on the mound: Scout. Scout stands at a respectable 5’ 7” and performs with a dance company, as well as playing club rugby. They never really learned how to properly throw a baseball pitch, but they did collect baseball cards in third grade. Given their inexperience, they hoped to pitch above a 50 mph average. 

The first of Scout’s pitches was a disaster. They slipped trying to find the proper stance, and thus the pitch went directly downwards, registering at 15 mph. Not the best start. After some adjustment, and centering power in the legs like the pros tend to do, their next throw clocked in at 69 mph.

Nice, right?

They struggled again on the third, letting go too late. 38 mph. But once they returned to the successful form, as incorrect as it may be, their last three pitches landed at 70, 71, and 75 mph.  

With the first pitch factored out as human error, Scout’s average was a solid 64.6 mph. 

It’s important to note that most other average Joes trying their hand at pitching alongside Charlie and Scout were clocking speeds anywhere from 30 mph to 80 mph, with most falling somewhere in the 35 to 55 mph range. 

At the time, the results seemed pretty good. 75 mph is an abnormally slow pitch speed in the MLB, but you’ll still likely see one or two of them per game. 

But when you pit the interns against Washington Nationals All-Star pitcher and very fast thrower Max Scherzer, things look a little bleak.

Scherzer, according to data from Fangraphs, has an average pitch velocity of 92.4 mph over 20 games so far this season. 

Ouch. Not even close.

It’s hard, of course, to directly compare people who work out for fun with people who work out for a living, let alone people who are the very best at working out for a living and trained for decades to excel in their skillset. 

Though it was fun to try, we’ll leave the pitching to Scherzer.

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John Gant homers, pitches Cardinals to 6-4 win over Nationals

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John Gant homers, pitches Cardinals to 6-4 win over Nationals

ST. LOUIS -- Even John Gant cracked a smile.

Gant homered for his first major league hit and pitched one-run ball into the sixth inning, helping the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Washington Nationals 6-4 on Tuesday night for their season-high seventh consecutive victory.

Kolten Wong had three hits and three RBIs as St. Louis (65-55) pulled within four games of the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs and moved within one game of the Philadelphia Phillies for the second NL wild card. The Cardinals also improved to 18-9 since Mike Shildt was named interim manager on July 13, the most wins for a manager through his first 27 games in franchise history.

"Things are starting to click for us," Wong said. "We're playing confident. We're out there playing aggressive and I think it's the kind of baseball Cardinals fans have been waiting for."

The Nationals (60-60) have dropped six of eight to fall eight games behind Atlanta in the NL East.

"We've just got to keep pulling the same rope, keep grinding it out, keep trying to win ballgames," Nationals slugger Bryce Harper said.

Gant (5-4) permitted four hits and struck out six in 5 1/3 innings. He has given up just two earned runs over 11 1/3 innings in his last two starts, both wins.

The 26-year-old Gant was 0 for 30 for his career when he drove a 1-1 pitch from Gio Gonzalez (7-9) over the wall in left in the second. The two-run shot gave Washington a 3-0 lead.

"I was jogging kind of my hands in the air," said Wong, who scored on Gant's homer. "I already knew it was going out. Looking back I think he almost caught me."

Added Gant, "I thought it was going to hit the wall maybe but when I finally looked up and (Wong) was looking back at me, that's when I knew it was going over the wall."

Gant, who has a reputation for being a stoic player, admitted to smiling "once or twice" once he got back to the dugout.

Wong's solo homer made it 6-1 in the sixth, but Washington responded with three in the eighth. Harper hit a two-run shot, and Daniel Murphy singled in Anthony Rendon.

Matt Adams then struck out looking against Dakota Hudson, ending the inning, and Jordan Hicks worked the ninth for his fourth save in eight chances.

Paul DeJong also doubled and scored for St. Louis one night after he connected for a game-ending homer in a 7-6 victory. Matt Carpenter walked in the sixth to extend his on-base streak to 32 games.

"We have a 25-man roster and we have confidence in all of them," Shildt said. "They're here for a reason and guys are looking to contribute every night and in different ways."

Gonzalez was charged with five runs and five hits in four innings. The veteran left-hander is just 1-4 in his last six starts.

"I wasn't hitting my spots," Gonzalez said. "Just not being as consistent in the strike zone as I should be. It's just one of those games you can't explain."

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Nationals place Ryan Madson on 10-day DL

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Nationals place Ryan Madson on 10-day DL

Ryan Madson is the latest Washington National headed to the DL, turning the team's relief pitching rotation upside down even more than it already is. 

According to MASN's Dan Kolko, the 37-year-old is nursing a "lumbar nerve root irritation" injury and will sit out for 10 days. 

In response, the team has named Koda Glover as the closer, who was promoted from Triple-A Syracuse Wednesday. 

Glover gave up a game-ending solo blast to the Cardinals' Kevin DeJong Monday night. 

The night before, Madson was on the other end of David Bote's walk-off grand slam in Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Cubs. 

As for Tuesday night, Glover's status remains unknown.

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