If you were/are a reliever

and you had a choice of two great pitches to have, what would they be?

For me, if I was a reliever I’d choose a 95 mph four seamer, and a nasty 87 mph slider. What about you guys?

Only 95? Why not 100? and a 90 MPH slider?

Yeah id want a flaming fastball and the nastiest most dirtiest 1-7 slider ever.

95 mph 2-seamer and a 84 mph power curve

I used to relieve between starts from time to time. Not being a fireballer, in that situation I would go with my two best pitches—a slider which I nicknamed “Filthy McNasty” and a very good knuckle curve—and I would get the batters out that way. Of course, it was control and command that did the trick.

If I had the choice of two pitches they would be:

  1. 95 mph sinker (Lowe’s)
  2. 92 mph cutter (Rivera’s)

Imagine having two fastballs that have outstanding movement, one would run and sinker, one would cut. Hitters would have no idea which way the ball was moving It would make the cutter and sinker even more devastating. Of course this would all be moot if I couldn’t hit my spots.

Hoyt Wilhelm’s Corkscrew Knuckler
Phil Niekro’s Knuckler

Mid 90’s running fastball a la Papelbon, with that late jump that makes it hard to hit solid, and a mid 80’s changeup that runs and sinks. The seperation of velocity would be just enough that hitters could never sit fastball, but hit the change solidly, or vice versa. Third pitch would probably be an average get me over slider, a get me over curve is too easy to hang.

How about a 95+ fastball and a knuckler?

Have the FB and demeanor of Gossage, and the Gagne ( when he was healthy ) parachute change-up. You can speed up and slow down bats to get hitters laughing and crying.

Pat Neshek`s 94mph sidearm fastball
Brad Lidge slider

95+ MPH Running Fastball or 2 Seamer
80-85 MPH Circle-Change or Palm Ball

[quote=“Leonheart21”]95+ MPH Running Fastball or 2 Seamer
80-85 MPH Circle-Change or Palm Ball[/quote]

I would second that. I don’t throw anywhere near 95 anymore, but a 95 running fastball and a 85 circle change would do the trick. Mix in a breaking ball here and there and change locations. You would be pretty damn tough to hit.

As a closer, I’ve stuck with my 4-seam, slider, and curve. It’s worked pretty well, as my slider is pretty nasty and slightly slower then the fast. My curve is about 10mph slower and breaks a lot. I can get most guys off balance when I’m throwing it right.

My personal arsenal when I close though is just my 4 Seam fastball and my curve. Those are my #1 and #2 pitches, out of the pen I throw 84-88 with the fastball, and I get often unhittable break with my 12-6 curve, which sits in the low 70’s. I might show a changeup if the situation calls for it, my change is decent too, albeit inconsistent, but for the most part if I’m going to get beat out of the pen, its going to be throwing my absolute best $hit.

how bout one of those nasty valverde splits!

  1. 2-seam tailing fastball
  2. Modified circle change (just take your middle finger off and it’s a small man’s split finger)

A change up is the best pitch a relief pitcher could possibly have. It looks the same as everything else except the bottom drops out of the ball. The way I see it, I dont have to out pitch the hitters, I just have to make them be off just a little bit. I never overpowered a hitter in my life…but its damn hard to score with just one or two hits an inning.

It doesn’t really make any difference whether one is a starter or a relief pitcher.
One day I was talking to my pitching coach—Ed Lopat, one of the finest anyone could ever hope to work with—and I asked him something about pitching to the hitters; I commented, “It’s kind of like judo, isn’t it?” He replied: “You could say that. The principle is the same—using the hitter’s power against him. You make the hitters supply their own power. You take their power and turn it back against them; you give them something they can’t hit. You make them get themselves out. That, in a nutshell, is what strategic pitching is all about.” Lopat was a strategic pitcher, and he knew I was of the same stamp—not much on speed but with a good arsenal of breaking stuff and the control and command to go with it-- and he worked with me to help me maximize these capabilities, to take full advantage of them.
And that’s where it’s at. A batter is up there at the plate looking for a pitch he can drive out of the ball park—usually a fast ball, middle in—and he gets everything but, and the result is either a big fat juicy strikeout or a weak dribbler back to the mound or to the first baseman who will make the play himself. You don’t have to knock yourself out to retire that batter—you let him knock himself out with a crossfire slider or a good knuckle-curve or a well-placed changeup. You can enjoy listening to said batter let loose with imprecations, invectives and cusswords that would make my computer blow up if I tried to print them. And you can think, “Aaaahhh, you’re just a lousy hitter.” :slight_smile: .

95 mph cutter and a 75 mph screwball.