To really appreciate Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Villaneuva's performance Tuesday you have to go inside the numbers. Villanueva threw 99 pitches, two as slow as 60 mph and at least one as fast as 90 while allowing three hits in 8 1/3 innings of the Cubs' 4-2 victory in 10 innings. It's the second game this year he's dipped as low as 60 mph on a pitch and surprisingly the first time he's reached 90 mph. "That's on purpose," Villanueva said. "Sometimes you have to change the eye level." Villanueva's off-speed pitches have been a thing of beauty to watch over the first month of the season. He keeps going slower and slower with them. "He's just one of those unique guys that can make a ball, with arm speed, slow up that much," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "That's hard to come by ... It's not like you can sit there and time it because the next one might be 4 mph slower. His fastball command is good too." With a fastball that can only reach 90 mph at its best, Villanueva has to slow things down more than most so the contrast in speeds remains. Against the Reds on Tuesday it worked to perfection. Hitters were 1-for-20 in at-bats that ended with an off-speed pitch.
Inside Villanueva's three-hit performance
ESPN | Apr 24