Getting Beat with your 2nd Best Pitch- A NO NO


#1

Often times when a good team comes up for a hitter a pitcher tries to shy away from him because of fear of the long ball or a shot in the gap. The reality of it is when you try to do something that your not comfortable with your more likely to miss your spot and get hit hard. The one asset that all great pitchers have is balls. You can never fear any opponent that steps in that batters box. Throw your best pitch and go right after him with what your comfortable with. If he beats you then all you can do is tip your cap. But you’ve also gained his respect because everyone else tries to throw away from him. Interested in ways of improving your game. Stop by my free blog at A World of Baseball Today!
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#2

If you’re going to get beat, let it be with your best pitch, not your second or third best. Consider the case of Mark Wohlers in the 1996 World Series. He was the Atlanta Braves’ closer, and he came in to pitch the eighth inning. The Yankees, who had been behind 6-0, had closed the gap some and were now behind 6-3. They had two men on base, thanks to some alert baserunning and a double-play attempt that fizzled, and the next batter was Jim Leyritz. It was his first time at bat in the game; he had come into the game in the sixth inning to catch. So there he was—up there at the plate. Wohlers came in there with a 98-mile-an-hour fast ball, and Leyritz, who had a reputation as a batter who could change the course of a game with one swing, fouled it off.
Count 0-1, and suddenly Wohlers got a very strange look on his face—now he wasn’t sure whether he could get this batter out. He threw a curve ball, and Leyritz wasn’t biting. 1-1. Another curve, same result. Now Wohlers came in there with a 99-mile-an-hour fast ball—and another foul. Now he was getting scared—his best fast ball, and Leyritz was getting a good piece of it! The pitcher now realized he wasn’t going to get anywhere with the fast ball, and two curve balls had missed the plate, so he went to his third best pitch—the slider. He threw one, and Leyritz fouled that one down the first base line. And now Wohlers made a fatal mistake. He threw another slider…and this one hung…and Leyritz went right after it and blasted a line drive over the left field wall. I will never forget the announcer as he practically screamed "Back at the
track—at the wall—WE ARE TIED!"
The Yankees won that game in the tenth inning.
Yes, if you are going to get beat, let it be with your best pitch. 8)


#3

I like it, if your gonna get beat, get beat with your best instead of trying to make something else work for you. Confidence slays the dragon.


#4

Hmm. I’m confused.

So you’re saying throw your best pitch right? So when you get in a tough spot you just throw your best pitch over and over again?! How is that not being predictable?? How bout having the guts to throw other pitches with conviction? Now that’s some guts. Practice and make your other pitches comfortable, or keep going to well until you get beat.


#5

My pitching coach once said: “Never the same pitch, never the same spot, never the same speed twice in a row.” And he elaborated on this: “Move the ball around—high, low, inside, outside, change speeds, and stay away from the middle of the plate.” Even if you’re one of those rip-roarin’ fireballers who cah throw 95 or better, that is sound advice indeed—keep away from the batter’s wheelhouse. Mark Wohlers failed to do that, and look what happened.
I once asked my coach about his approach to pitching to hitters, and I said “It’s kind of like judo, isn’t it?” He replied, “You could say that. The principle is the same—using the batter’s power against him. You make the hitters supply their own power. You don’t give them anything to hit. You take their power and turn it against them.” By way of illustration he told me about one time, when he was with the White Sox, and he was pitching to Joe DiMaggio. He fed him a changeup, and DiMag hit it into the seats—foul. Another changeup, and Joltin’ Joe belted it into the upper deck for a home run. That pitcher said to himself, “That’s all I wanted to know.” And until the time he was traded to the Yankees, this pitcher—Ed Lopat—followed his own advice and never gave DiMaggio—or anyone else he pitched to—the same thing at the same speed twice in a row.
He used to get DiMaggio out with the screwball.
You have to mix up your pitches. Even Joe Page,the Yankees’ fireballing relief pitcher (and probably the one who ushered in the era of the closer) moved that fast ball around. So there really is no reason to get confused. 8) :slight_smile:


#6

My best pitch is a 2 seam fastball, when I get in a jam that is the pitch I go to, I don’t put it in the same spot sometimes in, others out, I didn’t say I would groove it, but just because the hitter is a good hitter then I wouldn’t change my thinking of how to get him out. He might be a good fastball hitter but I keep him off balance other ways. How about this one 3/2 count so I dont have a pitch to waste, can’t put a changeup in the dirt to set up a fastball so, I call timeout and toss the ball in real slow, of course the hitter is gonna watch the ball…I just got him seeing slow, next pitch will be 2 seamer in or out. = strike out or crappy swing. “I win!!!”


#7

you beat line-ups, not hitters. pitch to the situation to win the game. greg maddux

let somebody else play cowboy. one run lead, runner on 2nd, full count to the best hitter with full count and 1st base open. change-up. if you walk him, so what.

it depends on the situation


#8

Yes indeed, it depends on the situation. With none or one out, you have a little wiggle room—if need be, you can walk that batter intentionally and have your infield go to double-play depth. With two out the situation changes, especially if the next batter is a guy who’ll just as soon belt one into the seats as look at you. You have to get that third out, as quickly as possible, and that means come in there with a pitch the batter doesn’t expect. Even if it’s a fast ball. If you can throw it just out of the strike zone, make it a pitch too good to take, he’ll swing at it and either miss it or hit a weak grounder to second or short. That was one thing my pitching coach told me—he would throw pitches that looked like strikes, and he would often get a strikeout that way. 8)


#9

[quote=“dusty delso”]you beat line-ups, not hitters. pitch to the situation to win the game. greg maddux

let somebody else play cowboy. one run lead, runner on 2nd, full count to the best hitter with full count and 1st base open. change-up. if you walk him, so what.

it depends on the situation[/quote]

I’m afraid that kind of thinking will get you labeled as something less than a“manly man”. :wink:

Much of baseball, and sports in general, is a lot testosterone display. Yup, it’s a very macho thing to stare down the opponent’s best hitter, throw one under his chin to get his attention, then finish him off with the perfect placement of one’s “best” pitch perfectly executed. As Tim the Toolman Taylor would say, “Arr Arr Arr Arr Arr!”

I believe a great deal in a pitcher not necessarily throwing his “BEST” pitch, but rather one he has the most confidence in executing correctly, for the situation. But in either case, in general I believe its much more likely that an amateur pitcher is going to get the sign for what to throw from his catcher, who is only relaying what some coach in the dugout is sending in.

Yes, we can argue whether or not pitchers have the ability to “shake”, and for sure many do. But that’s not at issue. At issue is what pitch actually gets thrown. IMHO it should be the pitch least likely to make the situation worse than it needs to be, and to bring about the most favorable outcome for the defense.


#10

Yes…

A whole lot to say on the subject.
In Dusty’s instance I’d be more in tuned with it depending on the game (As in an early in the year outing and a pitcher who needs “seasoning” is a whole bunch different from a play-off qualifier or championship game)…would I do the same?? IDK the guy standing on the bump would make up my mind…as to the manely man thing…again, the win value makes a big difference, I think about what I saw Beckett do with 14 fastballs against the Rockies (To remind those who didn’t find it significant or just don’t remember…he started the game with 14 of em and the Rockies were never a presence at the plate the rest of the series), he used it to set an attitude…in a world where you hear “conventional” wisdom say “never” 3 of the same pitch in a row…he used his testosterone, his attitude and a freaking intimidating numba 1 to lay it on out there…gelded them thar Rockies he did. Would his #2 have worked…well, he did go to his hook and it was effective but those 14 heaters…those are what the oppo line-up remembered…my point being even when going to the Uncle Charles to end the game…what he did early made it all happen…I’ve heard Jon Papelbon give an extended disertation on this a few years back.


#11

Here’s one where I agree in general, but my brow always gets to furrowing when getting very specific. I guess I just can’t accept that much done in the ML has a direct analog in amateur ball, at least when it comes to who’s controlling what pitches are attempted. Of course I only really see a lot of HSB in person, and don’t really know what’s going on at the levels lower or higher, other than what I saw when my kid was active in them. So, perhaps coaches no longer generally feel the need to call pitches from the dugout, or at least give pitchers carte blanche to change what is called at will.

You can bet your behind that no manager is going to even try to tell Josh Becket what to throw, and I suppose there are a very few pitchers in HS who would be given the same respect, but for all but the very gifted, what I see is an extremely short leash about picking their own pitches. And that’s where I continue running into problems with what “expert” pitching coaches teach.

FI, the fellow my son went to spent a great deal of time not just on the physical part of pitching, but on the mental part as well, and that included reading batters and situations and making adjustments for them. Trouble was, his HS coaches didn’t share his philosophies. The result was, when he’d throw in tournaments or in showcase events, he was a completely different pitcher than when pitching for his HS team.

Please don’t assume I’m looking for an excuse for him at all. In fact, he was extremely successful in his HS career. But what was constantly going on, was frustration and conflict because he’d be told to do something by his HS coach that he was told not to do by his private coach. In the end he’d end up throwing pitches without conviction. Luckily his skills were such that most of the time he could get away with it. I’ve seen other pitchers in virtually the same situation, and all I can do is sit and watch and feel their angst.


#12

I don’t understand the disticntion your making…Who-ever is making the decision, whether it is a coach with an ego, a kid with an attitude, a catcher with a clue…is responsible for the strategy behind the pitch…the guy on the bump pays when he doesn’t execute…whether he is convinced of the wisdom of his coach and or instructor or not…
My son was one of the rareities you mentioned…his coach let him pitch his games his entire sr yr…before that he literally called every pitch and would let him shake it off but if it became “more or too frequent” he’d pull him.
The understanding my son had to develop was that it was the coaches ship on who-evers bump he strode…where he had latitude, he used it, where he didn’t he knew he had to execute, and execute finely or he’d pay for bad strategy…he had some painful lessons learning that…but he also learned how to use the called pitch and his locate or his change of speed to get the success the poor pitch calling wouldn’t have on it’s own…I guess the upshot was that he wasn’t going to allow the bad HS coach to ruin his opportunities and so he learned to work within each frame work to gain the success to be successful at that level and then beyond into college (Where he was blessed to have a very pitching smart HC who spent much time with his starters on strategy and tactics)…


#13

And that’s the point. The pitcher is always given more credit and more blame than he’s due. Its just not something I like to see. :frowning:

[quote]My son was one of the rareities you mentioned…his coach let him pitch his games his entire sr yr…before that he literally called every pitch and would let him shake it off but if it became “more or too frequent” he’d pull him.
The understanding my son had to develop was that it was the coaches ship on who-evers bump he strode…where he had latitude, he used it, where he didn’t he knew he had to execute, and execute finely or he’d pay for bad strategy…he had some painful lessons learning that…but he also learned how to use the called pitch and his locate or his change of speed to get the success the poor pitch calling wouldn’t have on it’s own…I guess the upshot was that he wasn’t going to allow the bad HS coach to ruin his opportunities and so he learned to work within each frame work to gain the success to be successful at that level and then beyond into college (Where he was blessed to have a very pitching smart HC who spent much time with his starters on strategy and tactics)…[/quote]

That closely parallels my son’s experience, as a Sr. And I have no problem with the concept of the coach being captain of the ship. But what gripes me to no end, is when I have to watch a coach berate a pitcher for doing the best he could with what he was told to do, as though he purposely hurt the team.

I find relaying signs one of the most inefficient parts of the game, and the reasons for it ranging from reasonable to absolutely ridiculous. I suppose its just a different mindset, but I honestly don’t see the current system producing pitchers or catchers with any more ability than when I was a kid.

In fact, I find it amusing when during an intersquad game or practice scrimmage the coach allows the players to handle things, and somehow everything goes just fine, except that the games goes noticeably faster. :wink:


#14

Nah…a pitcher wants to pitch, if by this time they are going to let the path get obstructed…well, I always say it’s a winnowing process…and it also reflects “real life” correctly…seldom is the concept of “fair” given much more than lip service…and then the issue of interpretation of “what equals fair” comes up and well it’s a certain donnybrook from there forward :lol:
I look at things like this as more bump in the road but the road is still the road…getting to higher levels is a process of adaptation and over-coming the forseen and unforseen.
…it would be “nice” if some kids paths weren’t obstructed by imbeciles with “the answer” but I’ve found that to be pretty much unavoidable.