My pitching coach once told me: “Move the ball around—high, low, inside, outside, change speeds and stay away from the middle of the plate.” He said it was important to change the batter’s eye level to confuse and discombooberate him, and never to throw one twice or three times in the same place and at the same speed. He once told me a very amusing story about Johnny Mize to illustrate a point.
The Yankees were to play the Indians one night in Cleveland, and some sportswriter went looking for Mize but couldn’t find him. Finally Big Jawn was located in the Yankees’ locker room—practicing golf swings with a bat. GOLF swings, for crying out loud! When Mize was asked about that, he said simply, "Garcia’s pitching tonight."
Mike Garcia, often called the Big Bear, was a powerful righthander who gave the Yankees more trouble than the rest of the Indians’ starting staff put together. But—like most pitchers—he was a creature of habit, and his habit was to start off every batter he faced with a fast ball low and inside. He had been getting away with it. But in this particular game the Yankees came to bat and put two runners on base. Mize stepped up to the plate, and Garcia, of course, fired his first pitch in there—yep, you guessed it, a fast ball low and inside. Mize was ready for it; he swung and golfed that pitch way back into the right field seats for a three-run homer and a lead which the Yankees never relinquished.
You can be sure he never saw another fast ball, in that location or anywhere else, from Garcia for the rest of the game. Q.E.D.—you have to know the hitters and how to pitch to them. And where. 8)