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Grading Luke Fickell’s First Pitch for the Reds Last Night

Right on the black.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Cincinnati Reds Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Finnegan may have been the most dominant pitcher in last night’s duel between the Cincinnati Reds and the Philadelphia Phillies at Great American Ballpark, but he was not the only guy to throw from the mound.

Luke Fickell, new head coach of Bearcats football, was invited to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. If you missed it, here’s a look.

Let’s break it down.

Fickell is a southpaw and went to the field with a glove on his right hand, showing his dedication and readiness. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he was prepared to go out and eat up six innings if he had to.

Fickell’s form was solid. Going from the stretch, he had a short stride (an excellent thing to have in case of base stealers) and hurled the ball from almost a 34 arm slot, showing surprising deception with his pitch.

On the pitch selection side, Fickell surprised by going with a breaking ball to start, probably a changeup or maybe even a slow curve based on the velocity because we all know if he wanted to rear back and hit 98 on the gun he would have.

You also have to give Fickell credit for already mastering the art of pitching to spots. Obviously with his velocity down a bit on the pitch, he needed to work the edges and he did just that, putting the ball right on the outside corner.

Grade: A

This was an excellent first pitch. Now UC just has to hope the Reds don’t steal him away to be their fifth starter.