Chew, I think I know what you’re getting at, and I believe that a large part of the situation is physical rather than mental. For example, you have a pitcher who’s tired, whose arm is tired, whatever—and often that pitcher will find that his stuff will do just what he wants it to do, no more and no less. And that pitcher will go out there and pitch a very good game, a winning game, because he doesn’t feel like forcing the issue. He doesn’t want to push it. He’ll just get out there and get the outs. And if he feels that he can’t go more than, oh say seven innings, he’ll tell the manager, and the bullpen will pick up the slack.
Or he’ll feel the frustration building up during a rain delay. He wants to get out there and pitch, is what he wants to do, and the rain doesn’t want to stop. What he can do—and a lot of pitchers will do this—is go down into the tunnel with another player and play catch, just to stay loose, and if he’s not feeling all that comfortable with the behavior of one of his pitches he’ll take the time to work on it a bit. And suddenly everything will fall into place.
Some pitchers will sit and do crossword puzzles or figure out their income tax or take a snooze. The important thing to remember is that you don’t want to tighten up and work yourself into such a state that you can’t pitch. Your comfort zone, as you call it, is always within reach, and you can always haul it in. And one more thing—the pitcher who has been spending his time barfing in the bathroom might have an upset stomach, perhaps a virus or from disagreeing with something that ate him, and he might be better off sitting this game out; he should go back to the hotel and have a cup of hot tea and a slice of well-done toast and get back into bed and just rest while another pitcher steps into the breach. No sense knocking yourself out. 8)