Do you guys ever think it’s smart to start a hitter off with a slider/breaking pitch?
Sliders that ride into the hands would be preferred. First pitch curves are often taken by the batter unless he has a reason to look for it. Generally, early in the game make them hit your fastball.
One has to be aware of the proclivities of the batters. If the guy at bat is one of those who will go after the first pitch, no matter what it is or where it is, don’t give him a fastball—and if you’re a pitcher who doesn’t have one, the smart thing to do is give him something like a hard slider or a knuckle-curve—or a nice little changeup. I remember when I played, many moons ago, and I often faced a leadoff hitter who was drooling and licking his chops in anticipation of a meatball or a cookie on the first pitch—and I thought, no way is he going to get a fastball from me because I didn’t have one; my wise and wonderful pitching coach had told me that you have to keep those guys off balance, and so I’d start that batter off with a knuckle-curve, and the best he could do was foul off that pitch! Or the hard slider, often with the crossfire, and that batter would return to his dugout foaming at the mouth and muttering a whole lexicon of imprecations and cusswords at that third called strike. One has a little more discretion if the batter is taking, just hoping to get on base one way or another—but still, don’t give him the fastball. Just remember to stay out of the guy’s wheelhouse, and it’s three up and three down.
Goddess of the Slider
Know the situation, know the hitter. If the hitter is a dead fastball hitter, a first pitch Slider will throw off his timing and may mess with his head.
Since he is a fastball hitter, he most likely will take the first pitch Slider. Getting you ahead 0-1 in the count.
If you can throw a good Slider that looks like a fastball and the hitter commits to swing, you will make him look downright foolish.
If the hitter is a free swinger, even more so, a first pitch swinger, throw the Slider and see how disciplined he is at the plate. An undisciplined hitter will either get himself out or get himself behind in the count. Use it to your advantage.
Best Of Luck