MIAMI -- What's it like to face 100 mph fastballs? The Chicago Cubs have seen it before, mostly when current New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman used to be in the National League, but when reliever Brian Ellington of the Miami Marlins got going late in Friday's game it took a few Cubs by surprise.
"There's a big difference between a guy that throws 95 and a guy that gets to 100, so those are the at-bats you want to try and see some pitches, which I did, but the last pitch was a 87 mph changeup," third baseman Kris Bryant recalled the next day. "I don't think people realize how hard that is."
Ellington pitched the eighth and ninth for the Marlins on Friday, striking out Bryant in the eighth. Ellington reached 100 mph a couple of times and 99 mph on six other pitches during the eighth. His second inning wasn't as fast, only hovering around 98 mph.
"I got my swings in," pitcher Travis Wood said. "He was throwing it up there."
Wood loves to hit but he didn't come very close to earning one despite some mammoth cuts against three 99 mph fastballs. He went down rather easily in the eighth. Bryant would have loved to have seen just fastballs, as the difference between 98 mph and 87 mph on a changeup fooled him bad.
"Usually guys that throw 100 mph just throw gas," Bryant said. "They don't deviate."
Ellington is rather new to the major leagues. Friday was just his 30th career game, but between striking out four of seven batters he faced and hitting 100 mph on the gun he left an impression.
"I don't think many of us heard of him," Bryant said. "If he continues what he did, he has a bright future. ... The probability of getting a hit is not very likely."
Bryant was asked if he can really tell the difference between 95 or 96 mph and 100 without looking at the radar gun on the scoreboard.
"You can tell, absolutely," he said. "You can feel it. You can hear it. It sounds louder. Some guys can throw 93 and it looks like 97 but 100 you know is 100 mph."
Bryant feels like he'll be better against Ellington the next time he faces him, but on Friday, the 16th-round pick of the Marlins in 2012 got the best of him.
"Anytime you have dude that throws 100 mph with four pitches it's going to be tough," Bryant said. "Friday was just a tip your cap day. A lot of guys were saying the same thing. He surprised us."