Here are six powerful arguments for swinging at the 3-0 pitch
You can debate whether or not swinging at a 3-0 pitch violates baseball's "unwritten rules," but there's little question that home runs on 3-0 pitches are pretty rare.
On Friday, Braves catcher Evan Gattis found himself in a 3-0 situation against Angels starter C.J. Wilson with two runners aboard in the bottom of the first inning. Gattis decided to take a swing. Here's what happened:
Atlanta would go on to win 4-3.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, there have been 51,295 home runs hit since 2004. Of those homers, just 267 have been hit on 3-0 pitches. Here's how it breaks down by count:
As you can see, it's the rarest situation by a wide margin. But let's dig a little deeper.
The team with the most 3-0 home runs happens to be the Angels, Gattis' Friday night opponents, with a whopping 23. That's nine more than the teams with the second most: The D-backs, Phillies and Astros with 14.
Perhaps most interestingly, this wasn't even the first 3-0 home run of Gattis' relatively short career. He did it last season against Twins pitcher Vance Worley.
Oh, and that homer? Yeah, that was a grand slam:
Gattis' teammate Justin Upton has hit five 3-0 homers himself. That number is good enough to tie Upton with David Ortiz and Adam Dunn for second-most among all hitters since 2004. Here's a 3-0 J-Up blast off then-Brewers starter Zach Greinke:
The batter with the most 3-0 home runs in the game today is Mike Napoli. Of his nine hits on a 3-0 count, six have left the park. He even did it twice in 2013, including this one in New York in September:
Of course, not all 3-0 home runs are made equal. One of the most impressive came earlier this year, when Reds first baseman Joey Votto clobbered a Boone Logan offering to give his team the walk-off win:
There have been just seven 3-0 home runs hit in the postseason, and every one of the players to pull it off was an All-Star: Joe Morgan, Tony Pena, Bobby Bonilla, Bernie Williams, Hideki Matsui, Reggie Sanders and Nelson Cruz.
Morgan's and Matsui's each came in the World Series, but Pena's might have been the most impressive. He hit a walk-off in the 13th inning of Game 1 of the 1995 ALDS against the Red Sox:
Are there any 3-0 home runs that are particularly memorable for you? Let us know by tweeting us @Cut4 or leaving it in the comments below.