relief pitching in high school

from what my coaches have told me so far, my job as a pitcher this year will manly be relief work behind our three or four senior starters. this is gonna be something pretty new to me. any good advice out there?? also, since i lack experience, i really week on the strategy part of pitch. like how to set a hitter up and what pitches to throw when.
if it helps at all, i throw a two seem and four seem fastball,
a decent circle change, and a curve that is in progress. thanks for any advice you can throw out there.

Are you a lefty or righty? What is your FB velocity? Plus do you think they want you as a middle reliever to set up your closers?

Hello again, buwhite.
I could tell this guy bushels about strategic pitching, because that was my area of expertise. But for now I’ll keep it pretty simple and just say that the whole thing boils down to this: Figure out what the batter is looking for—and don’t give it to him.
Ed Lopat—what an incredible pitching coach he was!—told me a lot about things like pitching backwards: in what would usually be a fastball count he would come in there with an offspeed pitch of some kind, and vice versa. He went into detail about setting up hitters—knowing both their strengths and their weaknesses, for one thing. As an example, he would cite a batter who is coming up for the third time in a game. You’ve gotten him out twice before, but the third time might be another story, so watch him. Is that batter doing anything different this time?like shifting his feet, or moving up in the batter’s box, or doing something that might indicate he’ll try to bunt, or hit to the opposite field? These are just some of the basics, but it’s all stuff that any pitcher, whether a starter or a reliever, has to know. Lopat also told me: "Get the ball over the plate and make the batter hit it. Make him go after YOUR pitch, what YOU want him to hit."
I don’t know either whether this pitcher is a lefthander or a righthander, but if he can throw sidearm he would do well to use the crossfire. This is a beautiful and lethal move that works only with that particular delivery—I should know, because I used it extensively, and it gave me twice as many pitches! Not to mention that it would have the batters standing there and going “duh” at a called third strike. Well, this should do it for now… 8) :slight_smile: :baseballpitcher:

sorry i didnt included that. im a lefty. and velocity is around 75-76. and we dont exactly have a closer, so i dont really know.

The ideal closer, according to some, is a comic-book reader with his brains knocked out of him. According to others, the ideal closer is—Mariano Rivera. Well, since your team seems not to have a Mo in its ranks, let’s go for the comic-book reader—a pitcher with no fear and a good solid go-to pitch. Or you could go for what some major-league clubs have to do at times—“closer by committee”. My guess is for now you’ll have to do with the last-named, so make the most of it.
Satchel Paige once said something we all would do well to remember: “Keep the ball as close to the plate and as far away from the bat as possible. And throw strikes; home plate don’t move.” :slight_smile:

Congrats on the relief role. It’s an extremely important one, and a GREAT way to earn your way into the starting rotation either this year or next. Bottom line is, if you do your job, throw strikes, work fast, give your team a chance to win, you’ll find yourself pitching more and more and more.

The biggest difference between starting ad relieving at the HS level is just that you must ALWAYS be ready to pitch. ALWAYS! So do whatever you need to do to be loose and ready to go in short order.

Good luck and have fun with it. Relieving is super fun – a big rush coming in and shutting the door to save or help get a win for your team.

I’m not really all that qualified, but I do a lot of relief pitching at my school, and I’ve found that it can be a lot of fun. Its a great feeling to be in the 7th inning and finish off a close game. Its important to make sure you pitch as effectively from the stretch as you do from the windup, because you will often be pulled in with runners on base. You get an advantage as a relief pitcher, because you get to see how the batters are handling the starter before you get on the mound. So, i always try to pay attention, look for stuff earlier in the game. Something to remember is that you are probably not pitching more than 3 innings so you will probably only face the lineup once, and you can come out there with your best stuff. Like Mr. Ellis said, you wont know when you will be pulled in, so i like to treat every game like i will be pitching later. As a relief pitcher, your pitching later in the game, so every run is very important, and you will likely be in many crucial situations, you know the “bottom of the ninth, 2 outs, bases loaded” (cept its high school so 7th inning) So you gotta stay mentally cool. Thats about all i got, hope its helpful.

Relief pitching is definitely a lot of fun, throw consistent and you will find your self in a lot of games.

[quote=“zach26mw”]from what my coaches have told me so far, my job as a pitcher this year will manly be relief work behind our three or four senior starters. this is gonna be something pretty new to me. any good advice out there?? also, since i lack experience, i really week on the strategy part of pitch. like how to set a hitter up and what pitches to throw when.
if it helps at all, i throw a two seem and four seem fastball,
a decent circle change, and a curve that is in progress. thanks for any advice you can throw out there.[/quote]

My main thoughts on this would include:
Concentrate on each pitch.
Think positively especially when coming into a really tight situation.
Like Zita mentioned, don’t give the batter what he wants.
Use different speeds on your fastballs- don’t throw each fastball (four-seam or two-seam) the same speed more than once in a row.
Be prepared!

thanks for the tips guys!! looking forward to throwing in my first game

Note to CardsWin: That’s exactly what Ed Lopat said: never the same pitch, never the same place, never the same speed. Mix 'em up—high, low, inside, outside, and change speeds, AND stay away from the middle of the plate. He once told me that he would have to tell some pitchers more than once about this because they didn’t listen the first time.
You may be interested in this—there’s a book called “The Gospel According To Casey”—Casey Stengel, that is—interesting, informative and very funny, and in the middle of the chapter called “Casey On Pitching” there’s a chapter within the chapter, wherein Lopat talks about technique. I was re-reading this, and all at once I flashed back to our “curbstone consultations” of years back—the things he told me, the things he showed me. And I’m still amazed that after all these decades I still remember everything he said. :slight_smile: 8) :baseballpitcher:

[quote=“Zita Carno”]
You may be interested in this—there’s a book called “The Gospel According To Casey”—Casey Stengel, that is—interesting, informative and very funny, and in the middle of the chapter called “Casey On Pitching” there’s a chapter within the chapter, wherein Lopat talks about technique. I was re-reading this, and all at once I flashed back to our “curbstone consultations” of years back—the things he told me, the things he showed me. And I’m still amazed that after all these decades I still remember everything he said. :slight_smile: 8) :baseballpitcher:[/quote]

Interesting,
I’ll have to look into that.
Maybe I can get it through the local library.
It sounds like a good book.

[quote=“zach26mw”]… also, since i lack experience, i really week on the strategy part of pitch. like how to set a hitter up and what pitches to throw when.
if it helps at all, i throw a two seem and four seem fastball,
a decent circle change, and a curve that is in progress. thanks for any advice you can throw out there.[/quote]

You don’t need to be worrying about setting up hitters and what pitches to throw in HS, unless your coach is one of the rare ones who doesn’t call pitches and locations. What you should do is pay very close attention to what’s going on and what pitches and locations get called, so you can learn how to do it.

Here’s a piece of advice I truly hope you take to heart. Keep a notebook in your bag! As soon as possible when you come off the mound, make some notes that later on you can discuss with your coach as to why something took place.

in some situations i would have to disagree…
sometimes throwing nothing but fastballs is more affective than mixing it up. its all about getting inside the hitter’s head and tryin to anticipate what he’s expecting.

All well and good, K-king, if one has a fastball. But for those of us who don’t…well, we just have to do the best we can with our closetful of breaking and offspeed pitches! I never had a fast ball to speak of—my top speed was 82 miles an hour—but I had a good arsenal which I had built up around a killer slider and a very good knuckle-curve, and I would crossfire everything I threw—and there was nothing the batters could do about it. So for me, Mr. Lopat’s advice worked very well. 8)

in some situations i would have to disagree…
sometimes throwing nothing but fastballs is more affective than mixing it up. its all about getting inside the hitter’s head and tryin to anticipate what he’s expecting.[/quote]

the_K_king#2-
True, but if a pitcher keeps throwing mostly fastballs without mixing in other pitches, most of the time the hitters are going to starting making him pay.
And lots of the time, it depends on the pitcher’s fastball.
Does it have good velocity and movement? can the pitcher spot his fastball? does he have good control of the fastball?

P.S. effective= not affective

Yes, “setting up hitters” is much less important at the high school level. MLB pitchers set up hitters because hitters are more capable of making adjustments. Many high school hitters just can’t make adjustments. If a guy can’t hit a curve, he can’t hit it. If he can’t touch your fastball, he’ll rarely be able to adjust and hit it. You can attack weaknesses a lot easier at the amateur level.