Pitching to a Plate Crowder

Usually when I get a hitter crowding the plate I can just throw an inside two seamer at their knees, no big deal. But the team I’m pitching against this week has one batter that takes crowding the plate to a whole new level. It’s to the point where anything inside of painting the corner would hit his knees.

Last time I gave him two breaking balls in a row which he took for strikes, but that’s not exactly a pitch I have a lot of control over yet. After missing with two more, I just tried to put some fastballs in there, but they were too low.

Even when he takes a pitch at his head, inside, or whatever, he gets right back in the same position. It baffles me because in all reality he’s a terrible hitter.

Should I try to just hit the outside corner or maybe even bean him on purpose to send a message? (BTW I’m a RHP and he bats right)

Don’t even THINK of trying to bean this guy—at the least, you’ll get ejected from the game, and at most—it’s too horrible to contemplate. The thing with these batters who practically stand on top of the plate is that they’re looking to get something they can hit to the opposite field, and they’re looking to extend their arms so as to get that outside pitch.
What you want to do is throw something up and under their fists so they’ll be unable to get the extension they’re looking for.
I’ve seen this done in the major leagues time and again—a pitcher such as Mike Mussina, for example. He’ll throw one of his pitches right under the batter’s hands, and the batter will get all tied up because he can’t get the extension he wants. Or, if he throws up and in, it’s not near the batter’s head but shoulder high, to drive the guy back from the plate.
When I was pitching, many moons ago, I would sometimes be confronted with a batter who practically stood on top of the plate and who often would pay no attention to the umpire’s warning to get back in the batter’s box. Okay. He wanted something to hit, I’d give him something to hit—and I would crossfire the pitch, so it looked to him as if it were coming at him from third base (I was a righthander). He would drop to the ground to avoid being hit, and the pitch would clip the inside corner for a strike, and would that batter ever look silly! I would suggest that if you throw sidearm at all you should add the crossfire move to your arsenal—that is one occasion where it would come in handy. 8)

Why? I’m going to have to respectfully disagree here, Zita. The game situation will obviously dictate what you should do (is first base open, is your team ahead or behind, etc.), but if a guy is crowding the plate this much, I’d drive him off the plate every time he came to bat. Every time! That’s what a Roger Clemens or a Pedro Martinez or a Nolan Ryan would do … right? Why would you give up the inside part of the plate just because a guy’s crowding it? You as the pitcher own both sides of the plate, not the hitter. Ever!

Go inside with the pitches, breaking balls to the inside corner.

Unless they are using some psychology, Rod Carew would sometimes crowd the plate looking for the pitcher to go inside on him and then step out of the bucket and pull it, and vice versa with the open stance, looking for the pitcher to go outside and he would then step in and drive it the opposite way.

I wouldn’t throw breaking balls inside … the hitter will just lean into them. You really gotta go with the fastball inside. Have your catcher spot it up there and hit the glove. Or go with CH’s inside, because the pitch will fade into the hands, not into the hitter’s sweet spot like with a CB middle-out.

Pitch inside to win outside…and never be afraid to turn his hat around !

I’ll just throw my knuck up there and watch him flail at it if I ever get into that situation then.

ya gana have to go with steve on this one. when your on the mound you are king that is your plate and nobody has control over it. ya zita is right about the inside fastball under hand, i do it alot to people crowding. you said the hitter sucks anyway so this really doesnt even matter because hes probably crowding to try and get hit. but for me if i got a good hitter up and he wont back up then ya hes gettin thrown at, you have to establish dominance and show your aggression. you have to pretty much say “you must be forgetting whos plate that is now back the #$%^ up”. if you are scared then the hitter has an edge over you before you even throw the ball. I do also like throwing an inside curve after throwing at a batter, my curves a 2-7 break so it looks like its gana hit him again and fools em. wouldnt really suggest that with a 12-6 though, its all mental though. if you give into him crowding the plate then he controls you, the whole idea on the mound is to control the hitters.

Steve—just wanted to remind you that I didn’t have a fast ball to speak of, so I had to go to my snake jazz and do all sorts of things with it. Whatever works. :slight_smile:

My son loves this situation, it takes a whole bunch of options away from the hitter. He’ll send a chin tickler in there and then just busts in on the knees…then he’ll start his slide piece at the butt cheek…watch the guy fall all over the place while being called out on the third strike :lol: I saw him do this at the Jupiter Scout combine and before that against the #1 nationally rated Midland Redskins (This batter was actually squatting down looking at the umpire call the third strike.) and the batter just looks real dumb…they usually aren’t so aggressive next ab…but if they are I assure you, at least once, they are gonna hit the dirt…he may just go ahead and leave a bruise and then really try to pick the guy off…also a favorite tactic of his.

Thanks for the replies, guys. I can get my breaking ball to do what Zita said earlier, by throwing it at the batter’s head initially but it comes down for a strike.

I wouldn’t get ejected for beaning him, it’s not like I’ve never hit a batter before. I’ve never intentionally done it, but I think it would be hard to tell the difference to the umpire letting an 0-1 cutter out a little early.

I think I’ll just go middle-in (middle would be pretty close to his hands still) and try to get a weak grounder or pop up.

jdfromfla, I love doing that but with a walk. I’ll pitch away from a big left hander that I know can handle all my pitches but runs at snail speeds. Then it’s an easy pick off at first after waiting for a good 3-5 seconds.

If he’s a “terrible hitter” then, why are you wasting time worrying about whether he’s crowding the plate? Do what you do and the result will take of itself.

Steve, do you have any empirical evidence to suggest that throwing at a batter improves the chances of getting him out the next time at bat or subsequent at bats? I’ve watched people throw at A- rod the last several years and he still puts up big numbers as do a number of other great hitters. Throw north/south/east/ west and change speeds but throwing at him puts him on base and that’s not good regardless of the game situation. it also invites the opposing pitcher to throw at your best hitters.

Don’t forget the fact that an inside ptich for him would be unhittable, and thats what he wants you to think. He’s forcing you to try and get it inside. Well handle him like a normal batter. If its as extreme as you say a pitch down the middle would still be tough to hit. Try throwing one down the middle to inside like you said. If your really having trouble throw him down the middle and a little ouside. Almost move your strikezone over.

Gotcha! That makes sense. Thanks, Zita. It’s a great thread!


Steve, do you have any empirical evidence to suggest that throwing at a batter improves the chances of getting him out the next time at bat or subsequent at bats? [/quote]

No. And, again, depending on the game situation, you’ll really want to be careful not to lose the pitch on the inside corner and run it into the hitter, giving him a free pass to first base. But I still like the pitches in and down to these types of hitters. And like JD’s son, if you can get your breaking stuff to dive down as opposed to sweep across the plate, you can really have a lot of success against these guys.

How would pitch Dustin Pedroia…someone who stands way off the plate?

I myself would pitch him on the outer half. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

If he’s a “terrible hitter” then, why are you wasting time worrying about whether he’s crowding the plate? Do what you do and the result will take of itself.[/quote]

He can still make contact, and considering I’m a main part of the infield that’s missing when I’m pitching, it’s hard to throw good hitting pitches. I’ve started to develop a cutter to get more ground balls, but last game I had a sure thing DP ball score two runs past my short stop (where I would be if not pitching).

It terms of someone who stands away from the plate, that’s my favourite batter to pitch to. Once you’ve established the outside edge of the plate and they’re going to cheat over a little, I like to try a get the inside corner with a change up or something.

I don’t throw a lot of change ups (maybe only 2 a game), because I like to freeze the batter when I do use it.

Think about this, though. Is it easier to hit an inside pitch on the hands or an outside pitch over the plate? Usually outside pitches, right? You can drop the hands and step into it and get the sweet spot of the bat on the ball. So if a guy is crowding the plate, the inside pitch is on the hands, which is a tough pitch to hit. (The only exception is if a guy’s cheating on the inside pitch.) A lot of times, guys will crowd the plate looking for that pitch away. So by going in, you handcuff him and can take the bat right out of his hands. Or break it, if the bat’s wood.

I don’t get why pitchers try to back the hitter off the plate. The batter is up there to get on base so if he gets hit, he earned his money. When a pitcher throws inside to me I just stand there. If I get hit I’m on base, nothing wrong with that. If I don’t get hit I just stand right back where I was. When you stand close to the plate you basically take away the whole inside for the pitcher. Most pitchers are afraid to throw inside because of the batter. So if you stand close to the plate his has to throw in the middle or outside to avoid hitting you, and also since your close to the plate you can easily hit the outside and middle pitches. So throwing inside is pointless unless the batter is a chicken shit.