Can't finish off the batter

I am a high school pitcher, pitching American Legion right now. I mainly close for my AL team, my best pitch is my curveball, i throw a 2 seam at 70-73, and a developing circle-change (really should have worked on that earlier :?) I get outs, my era is pretty low i think, but it frustrates me that people never strikeout. I average like 1.5 k/9innings, and sometimes I come in at a situation where i need a strikeout, runner on third, less than 2 outs, and then i get 2 strikes and invariably get a ground ball to the shortstop or second baseman and the guy scores. I dont have a problem getting the first 2 strikes, and then i work around the strikezone, but the don’t chase, and then l have a 2-2 or 3-2, and they foul them off for a while and then make contact somewhere. I have pretty good location, i hit my spots, i feel like i need more velocity, any advice?

Does your 2 seamer have good movement or is it more of a location pitch for you?

bro you need to watch alot more MLB games dude.

My favorite pitcher for curveballs, by far is AJ burnett(when they are on).

If you say your curveball is your best pitch, then you should be striking guys out easily bro

I am in high school as well, and my fastball consistently hits 85mph, sometimes tops out at 88mph.

But ya my curveball is pretty deceptive, i throw it maybe 70mph, just completely screws the batter out, then i mix in a slider at around 79mph as well

Point here being that what i do is i try to throw my fastball to get 2 quick strikes, then screw with the batter by throwing a curveball, maybe high fastball, slider off the plate

Thats what i do anyways.

Try what I do out for size:
Dont try to make them miss. Pitch to contact. Dont serve up bp for them, but make them hit the ball. Stiking everyone out is selfish baseball anyway. Get them to hit weak ground balls or high shallow fly’s. Let the batter make the mistake of hitting the ball to your fielders. As long as there are little to no errors, you will be fine most of the time. K’s are not the most important part of pitching, afterall. You can throw a perfect game without striking out a single batter. Plus, if you get a ground ball on the second pitch, it saves your arm.
Now for the 0-2 count, try throwing a ball above the zone. About chin level. If they do swing, they arent going to make solid contact. If they dont then its a perfect setup for a low breaking ball. Change their eye level.

therbert11, that is really good advice, keeps pitch counts down and the defense alive.

This is a situation I’ve seen many times in major league games—the pitcher gets two strikes on a hitter and can’t get him out. There are many reasons for this, and perhaps the most dangerous is that the hitter is looking for a particular pitch. He’ll foul off one pitch after another—I believe that the record is 27, what Phil Rizzuto did one night against the Cleveland Indians, and the pitcher got careless and the Scooter tripled off the right-center-field wall, clearing the bases.
So here is where strategic pitching really comes into play.
Ed Lopat told me to watch the hitter closely and see what the guy is doing up there at the plate—does he shift position, move up in the batter’s box, choke up as if to bunt or go to the opposite field—even start to swing and hold up; all these things are a tipoff that this batter is sitting on a specific pitch. More often than not it’s a fast ball right in his wheelhouse. So—don’t give it to him.
I didn’t have a fast ball to speak of, so I had to rely on a closetful of offspeed and breaking pitches. My #1 pitch, which was almost always good for a strikeout, was a slider that I had nicknamed “Filthy McNasty” after a character in an old W.C. Fields movie because that was exactly what it was, with a sharp late break. My #2 pitch was a very good knuckle-curve. Everything else in my arsenal was built around those two pitches. And, being a sidearmer, I used the crossfire extensively, and so when I wanted to get that third strike I would use it with one or the other pitch. About 98% of the time the batter would just stand there and go “duh” as the pitch hit the corner for the third strike, and then he would break his bat in two and go fuming his way back to the dugout.
I would say that if you want to get that batter out, go with your best pitch. The one problem with a ground ball is that at times it will find a hole, and instead of the out what ensues is a seeing-eye single and an RBI—and we don’t want that, now do we? As for the other 2%—how about a nice delicious popup? :slight_smile: 8) :baseballpitcher:

The advice therbert and zita have given in here is really good.

I’d like to also add that having one pitch that can make a batter say WTF is good to have. Even if it’s not really that dirty of a pitch.

That’s why I still like to keep the knuckleball around even though my coaches don’t like it.

Think about it, you can get through a game usually with just fastball, changeup, curve but every now and then you’re right, a strikeout is the best option. That’s when I like to pull out a wtf pitch.

So for a team that doesn’t know me too well that’ll be my knuckleball, for a team that does know me I’ll throw a fastball because they know I like to outsmart rather than outbrute and they don’t expect it.

Maybe even just switching up your arm angle or putting a pause in your delivery with 2 strikes can get it for you. Lately I’ve been working on a screwball that I think I’ll be using very much for the same effect of just throwing a batter off guard when I need it most.

By the way, this wtf pitch can also be used to setup a strikeout, throw it with 1 strike and he’ll probably take it and with 2 strikes he’ll still be thinking about that pitch and that’s when you can blow a fastball by him.

Here’s another one to try, when you get into that full-count don’t be afraid to throw off-speed (make sure you can hit your spot with it) if you throw a breaking pitch for a strike on a 3-2 count most batters at the legion level will pull a Homer Simpson and yell “Doh!” because they were looking fastball all the way.

@buwhite- I throw my 2 seam because batters don’t seem to make good contact on it very often in comparison to my 4 seam, which i throw around 75, but that isn’t really fast enough to overpower anyone. When i miss with my 4 seam i feel like batters take advantage of it more often. Often i miss with a 2 seam and the batter still hits a ground ball to the shortstop :).
@barrybonds999- Yeah, A.J. Burnett can have a great curveball sometimes lol. But you have an 88mph fastball, its a lot easier to get the first 2 strikes when you throw an 88mph fastball, when i throw a low to mid 70’s fastball, hitters try to jump on it (even if its not a good pitch to hit), and usually pop it up or hit a ground ball. This is great if i just need outs, but when the winning run is on third base with one out and the batter hits a ground ball to the shortstop, he might as well have hit a homerun.
@therbert11- Great advice, for the first 2 strikes, that’s what i try to do. And for the last strike, your right, i’m gonna try that out (although this is the sad time of the year in between summer ball and fall ball for me, so i dont have any people to try it out against :(.
@Zita “The one problem with a ground ball is that at times it will find a hole, and instead of the out what ensues is a seeing-eye single and an RBI—and we don’t want that, now do we?” Exactly. And great advice, btw, people call my curveball “the McNasty”, because apparently a few years back when i had glasses, people thought i looked like a character from the movie Superbad called McLovin :).
@ Postulio- Also great advice, especially about throwing offspeed on a 3-2 count, they never see it coming lol. Except my catcher would never call that, i feel like the instant i shook my catcher off, the batter would know that i wasn’t going to pitch conventionally and throw a fastball. At least, thats what i would think as a batter. And the WTF pitch, i want to develop a screwball too, but i have heard that it is really bad for your arm, like i think i heard that Carl Hubble’s arm was permanently pronated.

Oh yeah forgot to mention, i was pitching in the amateur baseball world series in Tennessee last weekend and i came in with the bases loaded with one out in the 6th with the score 6-4, and i struck out the first batter (he swung at a curveball in the dirt and accidentally threw his bat into right field lol) , and got a groundball to the shortstop to end the inning. Then in the 7th, i struck out the first batter of the inning, got groundball to the 3rd baseman, and then struck out the last batter of the game, and we won. So i got 3 K’s out of 5 batters faced. I think what was different that game was that i was pitching fluidly, i wasn’t trying to throw hard, or get a hard break on my curveball, i was just pitching, it was neat. When i started pitching relief, i would overthrow because i figured if im pitching only 1 or 2 innings, i should pitch them all out. But in reality, i think i pitch better when i just pitch normal lol. However, now that that’s over, i have to wait till fall before i get to play again, i’m just gonna do offseason work till then i think.

Note to “baseballispower”: I agree, it would be best to stay away from the screwball. I remember what happened to Carl Hubbell; he threw that pitch almost exclusively, and the result was that when he would stand with his arms at his sides the palm of his left hand faced out. OUCH!!!
If you’re looking for a “wtf” pitch to bedevil the batters with, you might consider a knuckle-curve, a splitter or a slider, any one of which will give batters conniption fits’ I threw both the slider(my strikeout pitch) and the knuckle-curve (my second-best pitch), and I built my entire pitching repertoire around those two—and, because I was a natural sidearmer, I used the crossfire extensively, which the hitters did not like at all! My hand wasn’t quite large enough for the splitter, but if yours is you might experiment with that one.
And here’s an interesting little note: several days ago someone posted on this site wanting to know about a pitch called a “shuuto”, and a few people had different ideas about it. Well, here’s my seventy-five cents’ worth: The shuuto is, at bottom, a changeup screwball. Shigetoshi Hasegawa used to throw it a lot. But the Japanese did not invent this one; the changeup screwball has been around for a long time. Back in the early 1960s a Cincinnati Reds pitcher named Joey Jay started using it; he called it a “slop-slider”, and when he threw it the batters would pop up one at a time like Kleenex! Before that, Ed Lopat, who threw everything but a fast ball, would use it on occasion—he had, by the way, a murderous screwball, and even though it may have been his best pitch he didn’t use it all the time.
Interesting business, this. 8) :slight_smile: :baseballpitcher:

You guys are probably right about the screwball being a bad idea for most people. The only reason I ever considered throwing one is how ridiculously flexible my arm is, it doesn’t even bother my arm but you’re right I spaced that most people can’t pronate that far without pain or discomfort.

But as far as the catcher goes, let him know that you want to do that. Then maybe a situation where you want to throw a fastball your shaking the catcher off adds to the deception if the batter is a guesser (a good hitter won’t guess).

Now as for the two strike count, if there were two strikes in a row making it 0-2 or 1-2, throw a chin high fastball. This is not a waste pitch. It is a setup for the next one. Come back with a low curveball or changeup. With the batter’s eye level being changed, he is going to most likely swing and miss for a K.

Now as for the two strike count, if there were two strikes in a row making it 0-2 or 1-2, throw a chin high fastball. This is not a waste pitch. It is a setup for the next one. Come back with a low curveball or changeup. With the batter’s eye level being changed, he is going to most likely swing and miss for a K.

First of all, no pitcher is going to never give up runs. We all give up runs.
But what can you do to keep some of those runners on third? Strikeouts might help. Make sure that you are not afraid to challenge the hitter with your best pitch/pitches. When you get the first two strikes, pitch around the zone once or twice, and if the batter doesn’t chase at the pitches that could go for either a strike/ball maybe you will have to craftily use one of your best pitches that is in a location that will definitely either be a called strike or somewhere that the batter might pop-it up. Use your fastball to set up your off-speed and breaking pitches.

Thanks for all the replies, today I struck this kid out at a showcase after i fell behind 2-0 with a fastball inside then a fastball outside, then threw 3 curveballs outside curveballs, got two called strikes, then he fouled off the last one and then threw a fastball inside to strike him out. He was about five seconds late on a 75 mph fastball :lol: All of the responses and pitch sequences sound great.

Atta boy! Set up the cold-heat with a few off-speed pitches. Just the way I like it!