Good morning, littlelefty. And what are you doing in the “introductions” section? This question really belongs in “general pitching advice”—anyhoo, I’ll try to answer as best I can.
You’re having the same problem as a lot of major league pitchers, by the way—the so-called “lefty specialists” who come into the game in relief to face lefthanded batters. They do all right there, but if they have to face a righthanded batter they get clobbered from here to Timbuktu and back. In your case, the righthanders go after your curve ball, and that tells me a change in strategy is in order. You need a different pitch to deal with those guys, and I have a few suggestions that might help you.
For example, there’s the knuckle-curve. I used to throw one, and guys like Mike Mussina had great success with it. What it is, basically, is you use a knuckleball grip, of which there are several, and you throw the curve with it. I don’t know what your arm slot is, but I was a sidearmer and I threw that and similar pitches with a sharp karate-chop wrist action, and what happened was that the pitch would come in there looking for all the world like a fast ball and then suddenly drop like a glass hitting the floor.
Then, there’s the slider—ahhh, the slider. My strikeout pitch. And, when it’s thrown correctly, it puts no additional strain on the arm and shoulder; in fact, it’s easier on them than the curve ball—and harder on the hitters. I learned it from an active major-league pitcher, a key member of the Yankees’ legendary Big Three rotation of the late '40s to mid-50s, and what he told me was simplicity itself: “Throw it like a curve, but roll your wrist, don’t snap it.” That pitch calls for an off-center grip, with the index and middle fingers very close together and the middle finger just touching one seam. Because I had the karate-chop wirst action, I was told to just ease up on it. WARNING: This is not a pitch one can grasp in a week or so; it takes time, and although I got the hang of it in about ten minutes it took me almost ten months to get it down the way I wanted it! But once I had it, I was able to use it in games, and the first time I used it was in a relief appearance in which I struck out the first two batters I faced and retired the side without a run scoring. You might think about adding that one to your arsenal, and if you can do it you’ll find it extremely effective against lefthanders and righthanders alike.
You also have a goodly number of changeups to choose from, and believe me, nothing will throw hitters off balance the way a good change will. So said Babe Ruth; he said that a good changeup witll cause batters more grief than anything else. You can work with a palm ball, a circle change—in fact, just about any pitch can be turned into a nice changeup. Try different grips, for example. But remember: you have to throw everything with the same arm motion and the same arm speed as you do the fast ball, because there are few things worse than telegraphing the pitch. And speaking of telegraphing—are you sure you aren’t doing something that will tip off that curve ball to the hitters? I would suggest that you have your catcher—or a good pitching coach who knows about such things—observe you as you warm up; he may be able to spot something you have overlooked. And therein hangs a tale:
When Whitey Ford first came up to the Yankees in 1950, he started one game, and the opposing hitters were eating him up, turning every pitch he threw into line-drive extra-base hits. Then, in the fifth inning, right-fielder Tommy Henrich—who was playing first base on this particular day—came running over to the mound and said to Whitey, “That first-base coach is calling every pitch you’re throwing!” This was the first indication to Mr. Ford that he might be telegraphing his pitches.
The next day pitching coach Jim Turner and fellow pitcher Ed Lopat took him into the bullpen and had him throw from the stretch, because that was when the problem was occurring. Turner was puzzled and kept scratching his head, but Lopat—who had been watching Ford with a grim, sardonic smile on his face—had spotted the problem immediately. Whitey was positioning his glove hand, all unawares, one way for a fast ball and another way for a curve, and it had been no problem for the opposing first-base coach to pick up on that and relay the sign to the batter! Lopat took Ford aside, told him quietly what he was doing wrong, and helped him correct the problem in one bullpen session.
So you need to watch out for that. Anyhoo, I hope all this will be of some assistance for you. 8) :baseballpitcher: