MILWAUKEE As the baseball left Randy Wolf's left hand in the sixth inning of the Milwaukee Brewers' Aug. 9 game against the Reds, batter Brandon Phillips could tell almost immediately that there was something different about this pitch.
The ball spun so quickly, yet seemed to be moving so slowly through the air a pitch seemingly caught in slow motion. It elevated above his head, in a territory very few pitches ever reach before finding the strike zone. But as it spun closer and closer to the plate, the bottom dropped out and it drifted through the strike zone. The pitch fell slower than any curveball Phillips had ever seen.
Finally, the pitch reached the plate. A ball. But the Brewers' dugout looked over to the video screen that revealed the speed of Wolf's throw.
Forty-nine miles per hour.
"You don't get to see that every day," closer John Axford said later.
"I don't know if he needs to throw it that slow," pitching coach Rick Kranitz added. "That's slow. Really slow."