Gameplan

Is there anyway i can improve my thought process when im in a jam. Like i was pitching today and let up two hits and a walk and then i stopped throwing my breaking ball and just try to throw faster…is there anyway i can fix this or at 15 years old is this to late to start pitching instead of throwing.

It;s never to late to transform from being a thrower to a pitcher, it just takes understanding what your strengths are and what you need to do to acheive the results you want. Developing control, speed and confidence in your abilities, debriefing yourself or have others bebrief you on your preformances and learn from them, what to throw and when.

When Allie Reynolds came to the Yankees from the Indians, he was more of a thrower than anything else. He was fast—very often his fast ball was clocked at better than 100 miles an hour—but he was wild and didn’t have all his stuff together. Then Ed Lopat joined the team, saw what was up, and one day sat Reynolds down and talked to him about repertoire, about stuff. He said: “Take four pitches—a fast ball, a curve, a slider and a screwball. Throw each one at three different speeds, and you have twelve pitches. Next. throw each one with both the short-arm and the long-arm motion, and you have twenty-four pitches,” He didn’t say what would happen if you were to throw each one at three different arm angles, overhand, three-quarters and sidearm. But what he noticed was that Reynolds had been rushing his delivery. Lopat taught him to slow down, pace himself better and—most important—change speeds on all his pitches. Exit Reynolds the thrower whose fast ball exceeded 100 miles an hour. Enter Reynolds the pitcher—a very fine one, a power pitcher with finesse, whose fast ball exceeded 100 miles an hour.
You can do some of the same thing. Learn to change speeds on your pitches. Add another pitch to your repertoire—perhaps a knuckle-curve, a splitter or a slider. Refine your control. Move the ball around—high, low, inside, outside, stay away from the middle of the plate. Know the batters’ strengths and weaknesses, and don’t hesitate to challenge those guys—go after them, make them hit what you want them to hit, or go for the strikeout—or both. Maybe you won’t hit 100 miles an hour with your fast ball but you can certainly ramp up your speed. Best of luck!

I know how that can feel. Getting out of a jam is tough work, especially when errors and other means of extra outs are given (trust me on this one, it makes the anger and itch to throw hard greater) it’s tough to keep yourself in check mentally.

You’ll notice the best pitchers usually find a way out of a jam, David Robertson of the Yankees for example is having an all-star season and he’s done it by routinely getting out of jams that aren’t even his sometimes.

Getting out of a jam is all done in the head, you think about what form of out you need. A ground ball double-play? A strikeout or pop-up?

Odds are with a runner on third and less than two outs you want a stikeout/infield pop-up because a ground ball or fly to an outfielder will likely get the run in. The only time you don’t pitch for a pop-up/K in this situation is if the lead/deficit is large enough to trade a run for an out or if you can get out of it with a double play that is already in order.

With 1 out and a runner on first you want the grounder because a double play ends it.

Then always remember that the biggest part of pitching is upsetting the hitter’s timing. Don’t forget to mix speeds and location like you would any other time. The object here is to not get to frustrated or flustered, keep your head, stay calm.

The difference between a #3 pitcher and an ace in the big leagues is this. John Lackey for example erupts emotionally when things don’t go his way, and he lets it show, he gets angry and as a result he has an era over 6.00 this year. Then you look at an ace like Roy Halladay and he never gets flustered, no matter how frustrating the situation is he keeps a straight face and relaxes to get out of the jam.

It’s all a mental thing, leave emotion out of it. Try to always use logic over emotion.

Thanks but one question. how do you pitch for a strikeout. Normally my strike outs just happen and when i try they ussually get hit hard. So if i need a k in a situation how would i go about doing it?

That’s tough to explain. It varies from pitcher to pitcher.

I’ll tell you how I’ve done it in the past. An average hitter (and a lot of good hitters) will look for a fastball and not swing at anything else unless there’s 2 strikes.

So I throw knuckleballs and curveballs (depends on day, batter and other circumstantial things) to get ahead (it’s important to be able to locate these pitches if you do this) and then maybe show him one more off-speed out of the zone, or maybe two. Then I like to bring the fastball in on the hands, he’ll be late, probably swing out of panic and the most he can do really is to pop it up if he gets a piece. It’s always been the most effective way for me.

I try to spot the curve on the inside so it’s even more likely he watches a strike and if he swings it’s more likely he pops it up if it’s inside. With a knuckleball all you can really do is throw it near the zone and up or down, but in my experience those get a lot of pop-ups as it is whether inside or outside. Obviously a lefty is a little different as far as the curve goes, that’s when I like to drop sidearm and throw a little frisbee pitch that’ll tail away a little bit.

Alternatively since you don’t want to be predictable, starting with fastballs in on the hands is a good way to get a pop-up but if you do get to 2 strikes that way I’d be trying to get him to chase even higher or go off-speed out of the zone.

It’s tough to explain and I know this may be tough to follow, but I hope it helped.

Here’s where strategic pitching comes into play.
You say that when you don’t even think about it, you get the strikeout—it just happens—but when you try to do it you get hit hard. I’d say that it all depends on what pitch you’re using in this situation. Say you have a count of 1-and-2 on the batter. Many pitchers, when they get that count, will think fast ball—and unfortunately, that’s exactly what the batter is looking for. So pitch backwards. Come in there with something the batter isn’t expectin g, like a changeup or some other offspeed pitch, and nine times out of ten he’ll either swing and miss or just stand there and go “duh” as the ump calls strike three. Example: Saturday night I was watching the Red Sox-Mariners game, and the Mariners were hanging on to a one-run lead in the top of the ninth. Relief pitcher Brandon League was in there, going for the save, and here’s what he did. He was throwing some real serious high cheese, close to 100 miles an nour—and then, with two strikes on the hitters, he threw an 88-MPH splitter. He struck out the last two batters he faced. You might try doing something like that.
Remember what Babe Ruth once said: A good changeup will cause batters more grief than anything else. 8)

I guess it depends on what kind of pitcher you are and what kind of hitter the batter is.

I have always had more success with 2 strike fastballs (aside from 3-2), because throwing off-speed early leaves the batter little time to react when a pitch 10-15mph faster than he’s adjusted to comes flying in there.

Jamie Moyer once said “The most underrated pitch in baseball is the b.p. fastball” for that exact reason, you throw some soft strikes then a hard fastball seems that much faster and may even give the hitter a rising illusion due to his expected trajectory of the ball.

If you throw a lot of fastballs though then I would agree with Zita 1-2 would be a good time to throw off-speed. Like I said it’s about your style of pitching, and use that to get an idea of what the hitters think of you. In fact if you’re starting the best way to go about business in my opinion is to start the game pitching one way and then in the middle innings completely change how you’re approaching the hitters. Then in the later innings they will have no idea what to expect and in my experience that’s when your fastball is the most deadly.

This is exactly what Ed Lopat did against the Indians on June 4, 1950.
That afternoon, when he went out for a walk, he suddenly stopped as he neared Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium because he heard the sounds of batting practice coming from inside the park. He sneaked into the stadium, took up a position in the upper deck where nobody could see him, and spied on the Indians. He saw Sam Zoldak pitching a special batting practice to the team, throwing slow breaking stuff, and he saw the Indians practice hitting it—they stood flatfooted in the batter’s box, choked up on the bat and practiced hitting to the opposite field. He left the ball park with a sardonic smile on his face as if to say “Oh yeah?” and returned to the hotel.
That night, before the game, he pulled Casey Stengel and Yogi Berra aside, told them what he had seen, and said to them “I think we’ll have some fun tonight.” The game started, and the Indians came to bat droollng and licking their chops at the thought of the delicious prospects awaiting them—and they returned to their dugout foaming at the mouth, because for the first four innings all they got from him were fast balls and hard sliders, not even so much as a curve ball. In the fifth inning they returned to their usual free-swinging ways—and immediately he switched back to his usual control pitching. All the Indians were able to get off him were six scattered singles; he walked one and struck out five, and the Yankees knocked Bob Lemon out of the game in the fifth inning en route to a 7-0 victory.
Strategic pitching. Keep the batters off balance. 8) :slight_smile: :baseballpitcher:

Thanks guys and i never throw a first pitch fastball and when i do its never my fullspeed one so my real one looks even harder. But when you do throw your slow stuff first or pitch backwards and he fouls off the fastball should i go back to my knuckle/curve/slider or go out of the zone more often

Depends on how he’s handled everything else in the at bat, where he fouled that pitch off to, what stuff is working for you that day and what he’s seen.

If he’s only seen the curve and fastball give him the change (or in my case the knuck) if all he’s seen is a fastball and a change give him the curve. Etc.

Concentrate on the things that you can control, rather than on the things that are not under your control.
Concentrate on each single pitch. Think positive thoughts.
If you are pitching and suddenly you can’t throw your fastball, throw a breaking ball. Sometimes all it takes to get back your fastball is to throw a breaking ball or change-up, or vice-versa.