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Let’s look at the highest and lowest pitches Pablo Sandoval has homered against

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On Tuesday night, Pablo Sandoval walked it off on a pitch a foot above the ground. He’s done this sort of thing before.

Chicago Cubs v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

After living in Chicago for four years, I made a lot of friends who are Cubs fans, and I still follow some of those people on Twitter. It was interesting to see their reactions after Pablo Sandoval walked-off on their beloved sports team by homering off a pitch down at his shoe tops. Among this subsection of Cubs Twitter I’m privy to, there existed the common refrain of, “Man, that’s bullshirt. That wasn’t even a hittable pitch.”

My friends, that’s just what Pablo Sandoval does. He’s a free-swinging, bad-ball beating wonder. Like the Cubs’ Javier Báez, he’s an easy hitter to pitch to. Just don’t throw him anything in the strike zone, but Báez and Sandoval would have washed out years ago if they couldn’t sometimes punish those pitches.

Still, even by Sandoval’s standards, that was an extreme pitch to take deep. Using Baseball Savant’s search feature, I found that Sandoval has only ever homered off of two lower pitches in his career. The pitch last night crossed the plate 1.06 feet above the ground.

The K-zone overlay may be intrusive and misleading at times, but it gives us a clear indication of just how low this pitch was.

Out of the 4,180 home runs that have been hit across major league baseball this year, only four have come on lower pitches. The lowest came from Rowdy Tellez who somehow blasted a slider that probably would have hit the dirt before reaching the catcher’s glove. This pitch crossed the plate 0.86 feet above the ground.

The two pitches that Sandoval hit out that came in lower than Brad Brach’s fastball on Tuesday night came many moons ago when the Giants had only won two World Series in the last few years. In August of 2014, Sandoval dug out a slider from Tom Gorzelanny and scooped it over the wall. The ball was tracked at crossing the plate just 1.01 feet above the ground.

But Sandoval could go ever so slightly lower. The year before, Sandoval golfed out a pitch from Jason Marquis. The entire at-bat, Marquis was trying to get Sandoval to chase pitches in the dirt, but Sandoval wasn’t biting. Marquis “climbed the ladder” to put one at Sandoval’s ankles, but Marquis caught too much of Sandoval’s shins.

Sandoval doesn’t just hit the low ones either. In addition to hitting pitches a foot off the ground, he can also destroy pitches a foot above the strike zone. The most extreme pitch Sandoval has ever homered off of is also the most memorable. It came in the midst of the pennant chase between the Padres and Giants in the 2010 season. In these last two games against the Cubs, I’ve seen some people say the atmosphere has felt like October baseball, but these pale in comparison to those games against the Padres in San Francisco.

The stakes in this game were exceptionally high. In the middle of August, the Giants were still three and a half games back of the Padres. San Diego had their ace and supervillain Mat Latos on the mound and the game was on national television. A loss would have been devastating for the standings (the Giants needed all 162 games to win the division) and also for morale.

This was back when Latos was more of the guy whose dad was threatening to close down the rec center and not the guy who was physically assaulting people at indy league baseball games. He was also still good at baseball at this point. Latos carried a 2-0 lead into the seventh inning, and that’s when Pablo Sandoval stepped into the box. Latos threw him a pitch way up and way away but Pablo somehow hit it over the arcade.

Back in 2010, games were apparently broadcast on potatoes, so if you can’t see the pitch, I’ll let Latos explain where that pitch was.

That’s the highest pitch that Sandoval has ever knocked out at 3.92 feet above the ground. That made the score just 2-1, but it knocked Latos out of the game, and the Giants got to the San Diego bullpen. Without that homer, there’s a good chance the Giants get swept in that series, and who knows what would have happened if the Giants came out of that weekend five and a half games back instead of three and a half. Probably nothing good!

It’s rare that a hitter can hit a ball so low with power and it’s equally rare that hitter can hit a pitch so high. Pablo Sandoval, though, can do both.