Pitching Inside


Doing researching on the purpose of pitching inside. Meaning the purpose of pitching inside to move the hitter’s feet, Move his hips, and move his hands.

I watched a game on TV a few years ago that Orel Hershisher was doing the color. He broke it down masterfully on the reasons for moving these 3 areas of the hitters body off the plate to set future pitches in the at bat.


Hershiser should have been around decades ago.
I will never forget the bottom of the ninth, of a game between the Yankees and the Indians on September 17, 1951. Bases loaded, one out, and Phil Rizzuto at bat. Bob Lemon was pitching for Cleveland, and he figured that if he could pitch high and inside to Scooter he could induce a ground ball that would become a double play and send the game into extra innings; he knew that if Rizzuto, one of the best bunters in the majors, might try to bunt he would find it very tough going. So Lemon delivered his pitch—but he miscalculated, and the pitch started to come in behind Rizzuto’s head—a catastrophe if the little shortstop had backed into the pitch. But Scooter saw it coming, and he moved—oh yeah, he moved, feet, hips, hands, lightning fast, got the bat on the ball, and he laid down the most exquisite dead-fish suicide-squeeze bunt you ever saw, between the mound and first base where nobody could make a play on it. Indians catcher Jim Hegan saw that nobody could make a play on it, and he picked up his mitt and walked off the field, while Joe DiMaggio—who could have crawled to home plate and sat down and eaten a sandwich but who broke from third with the windup as fast as his aching legs could carry him—scored standing up with the winning run. And Rizzuto got a base hit into the bargain.
The whole point is: it’s good to break down the mechanism of pitching inside to a hitter, but you have to know whom you’re pitching to!


Thanks for you story about Rizzuto’s bat control. However, it’s different when the hitter is attempting a squeeze. They have to get the squeeze down by all costs.

I am asking about pitching inside, when the hitter is in swing mode. The purpose of moving the hitter back off the plate at the 3 locations mentioned above. What the intent is to set the hitter up later in the at bat


One thing you have to be absolutely sure of is that the batter is going to swing at the next pitch. Eddie Lopat, when he was talking to me about some aspects of strategic pitching, pointed out that if a batter starts to swing and then holds up, checks his swing, that could be an indication that he’s looking for a particular pitch, and the one you just threw to him wasn’t it. Also, you have to be sure that he’s not about to change tactics at the last minute and bunt, or just plain take the pitch. Watch out if he’s taking, running the count to 3-and-2—if such is the case, forget about making him move this and that and just come in there with the high cheese—strike him out! Whatever you do, don’t walk him with the bases full—the last thing you want to do is force in a run. Maybe get him to pop up? 8)


The inside pitch, either by deliberate location or as a cause-n-effect of a pitch with movement, has many complexions and cause-n-effect scenarios.
Taking out of the mix a pitcher who can’t hit the inside, regardless, takes the pitch as a stand-a-lone item to review. So, here are some – not all, of the reasons for a pitch inside.

Fundamental to all pitches
There is no one reason for pitching inside. In fact, there is no broad brush reason for any pitch being delivered as set in stone for all occasions.

The Fundamental s of Multiple Locations
Locations – low, belt high, chest high all have implications on the highest percentage of probability that a batter will or will not do something with the pitch.

Batters – Under Certain Conditions

First, every batter is in the batting order, at a specific spot, for a reason. Normally, quality up front with lesser bats down the order.

So -
There are batters that will chase high heat inside a greater percentage of the time than not, under certain conditions. There are batters that will take a certain pitch inside down and in, a high percentage of the time, under certain conditions. And so goes the game plan of what to pitch to who.
In very competitive baseball, I have found that when a batter digs in, he’s IN – period. Pitching inside to have the batter adjust his initial stance, prior to the pitch, is usually a no go.
On the other hand, there is a common completion with the human body that a pitcher can take advantage of – if he knows the restrictions of the human body under certain conditions.
For example, a batter that holds both arms and elbows up, just under his chin, and keeps them there all through the pitch, is very susceptible to the inside pitch regardless where that pitch goes. Why? Because his arms and elbows block his vision when he needs it the most. This is not to say that the batter won’t make contact – in fact if he’s a good contact hitter, he probably will. But, the quality of that contact will be greatly diminished.
Another example of a pitch inside that seems to work better a high percentage of the time is when a batter has a closed stance, and the front foot is just about on the inside line of the batter’s box. This aggressive stance keeps all the power and control of the bat – back, thus the frontal swipe path of the bat suffers with both power and control. In short, the batter shortchanges himself with an aggressive closed stance – thus the bat’s control is not good when dealing with the inside pitch.

The Batter’s Swipe Arch/Path

The arms and hands impress a certain tendency(s) for the bat’s swipe arch/path.
Again, the human body passes along certain can-n-cannot abilities when set in a certain posture. Arms held up high, hand and wrists bent back, has the bat leaning behind the head (sometimes) and the tip of the bat pointing slightly towards the infield. Now, one would think that an inside pitch would take advantage of the slower bat coming down from that position, then coming around to meet the ball down and inside. But not so fast. A batter with a “golf swing” can more than compensate for this initial batting posture with the hands.

I downloaded a variety of batting stances and arm postures and the batter’s hot spots to stay away from, somewhere on the web site. Would you like me to find them and repost them here for you?


I think I mentioned this story before, but it bears repeating in this case.
The Yankees were playing the Indians one night, and before the game some newshound went looking for Johnny Mize, who was slated to play first base, but couldn’t find him. Finally Mize was located in the Yankees’ locker room—practicing golf swings with his bat. GOLF swings, for Pete’s sake! When asked what that was all about, he replied with three words: "Garcia’s pitching tonight."
If you remember, Mike Garcia was a creature of habit who liked to start off a batter with a fastball low and inside. Well, the game started, and in short order Mize came to bat with two men on and one out. Garcia came in there with a fastball low and inside—and Mize was ready for it. He swung and golfed that pitch way back into the upper deck for a three-run homer and a lead which the Yankees never relinquished. You can be sure he never saw another fastball from Garcia—or any other pitch, for that matter, because the Yankees drove him from the game with a six-run outburst.
So you see, you really have to know whom you’re pitching to. :roll:


It’s your plate. Own it.


Section 47, row 5

Every pitcher that I ever had could paint the black - morning, noon and night. if they couldn’t, they wouldn’t where they were in the first place.

Zita’s memory of “Garcia’s pitching tonight”, reminds me of the devil getting his due.

I had a man who could literally … as we use to call it … “button your fly” with is location. Inside, outside, down, up - you name, he was a maestro on the hill. His only pitch selection was his fastball and off-speed with location.

However, even the best of them have their good days and bad days. One night - maestro had his one of his bad ones.

After the first inning, he was getting lit up pretty bad. Going into the second inning, our backstop starts off by sending the following signals with his fingers - four fingers, then seven fingers, then a wave of the hand, then five fingers.

After repeatedly shaking off sing after sign, the batter steps out of the box - not once, but three times. The plate umpire, who had a short fuse as it was with us, called time and had a few words with our backstop. The inning proceeds, batter gets into the box, again the signs, again the pitcher shakes them off.

Our skipper takes is hands off his hips, paces a bit, looks at me and says through his teeth … “get out there!”

Time is called, I walk out to the mound and greet the two with a " what’s going on guys?"

My man says he doesn’t understand the new signs.

“What new signs”, I ask?

Our backstop says, " just trying to make things a little easier for the guy. Since just about every other pitch he sent down in the first inning ended up in section 47, row 5, why confuse the guy."

So, no matter how good you’re hitting your spots or painting the plate, sooner or later your going to face a guy that’ll take every pitch in your bag of tricks, and park it somewhere near section 47, row 5, or somewhere close to that!


A well delivered inside pitch on the black can set the hitter up for the rest of the AB.


Steve—that comment of yours can be read two ways. From the pitcher’s point of view, there’s this statement from the late great Early Wynn to the effect that the pitcher’s mound was his office and he didn’t want anyone messing with it. From the batter’s standpoint, well, for example, Yogi Berra, whose hand-eye coordination was the best Ted Williams ever saw; he said that wherever the pitch might be, if he felt he could get a piece of it he would go after it, and more often than not he would get at least a double for his effort. You know, they used to say about Yogi that the only way to pitch to him was to throw the ball UNDER the plate. (And hope that he wasn’t a good golfer.) :slight_smile:


The key to owning the plate is to have the ability to defend it. If the pitcher can’t come inside when a hitter crowds, then the hitter owns the plate.

I can’t emphasize enough a pitcher who has the ability an confidence to use that space between the black of the plate and the chalk of the box. Practice, practice, practice.

Tip: Set up an infield screen in front of the batter’s box with the upright on the batter’s side of the inside chalk line and the base of the screen in front of the box’s front chalk line. Put a batter behind the screen (for safety). Then have the pitcher work on throwing inside without any fear of injuring his teammate. When he comes too far inside, he hits the upright or the netting. Catchers–watch out for the deflections off the upright :wink: or get yourself a screen to crouch behind. :slight_smile:


There’s more than one reason for pitching inside many of which are dependent on the situation. For example…

    Batters who crowd the plate may be trying to squeeze the pitcher out of the strike zone and own the plate. Don't let them - pitch them inside.
    Some batters who stand away from the plate like to get their arms extended and try to turn an inside pitch into an outside pitch. Pitch them in.
    The game situation may call for a righty to hit opposite field behind a runner. Pitch him in.
    The game situation might call for a double play so pitch a righty in to induce the double play.
    Hitting is all about timing and pitching is all about disrupting that timing. A batter's timing can be affect not only by changing pitch speed but also by changing pitch location. Pitch inside to speed up the batter's bat.


A comment: The expression “Hitting is timing; pitching is disrupting timing” has been attributed to Warren Spahn—but actually, he was not the first to voice that statement. That distinction belongs to the great Cleveland Indians pitcher Mel Harder, long before Spahn appeared on the scene.