I am a side-arm left handed pitcher. I throw a fastball that gets a lot of movement, a good change-up, and a firm slider. What other pitches can be thrown from the side-arm angle?
You can throw just about any pitch sidearm—even that obstreperous knuckleball. Just remember to keep the ball down and keep the ball away from the batter’s wheelhouse. And if you haven’t done it yet, pick up the crossfire—that’s a beautiful and lethal move that works only with the sidearm delivery and that will give you a whole bunch of extra pitches. Welcome aboard.
What do you mean by crossfire?
The crossfire—I’m surprised you haven’t heard of it before—is a beautiful and lethal move that works only with the sidearm delivery, as I said earlier. It’s been around for at least several decades, and the first I heard of it was when Cincinnati pitcher Ewell Blackwell was using it a lot. Now a number of other sidewinders have picked it up and are using it. Here’s how it works: You’re a southpaw, right? Okay. So you go into the windup, or the stretch, or the no-windup that Don Larsen used when he pitched his perfect game—but instead of pitching directly to the plate, you take a step or two towards first base, whip around with your whole body and fire the ball into the plate from that angle. To the batter it looks as if the pitch is coming at him from first base, and he gets all flummoxed and discombooberated and tries to get out of the way only to have it clip the corner for a nice neat strike. I was a righthander, so I went by way of third base—same result, the batter was caught off guard and ended up striking out. The beauty part is that no matter what the batters try to do, that move is going to get them. And it will work with any pitch—even that obstreperous knuckler. The slider is especially lethal when used with that crossfire. Have fun with it, and lots of K’s.
Those three pitches are good right there. I’d stick with them. In my opinion, pitchers just don’t need more than three good pitches ever. The question is, can you throw all three for strikes 70% of the time? Focus on that while continuing to improve your velocity, and you’ll be in a good position to pitch for a long time in the game – especially as a lefty.
You got it. The fastball-slider-changeup is the most lethal combo to be found anywhere in the major leagues, so you can go with those three. I remember guys like Vic Raschi, for example—Don Larsen when he pitched his perfect game—C.C. Sabathia—they and many others, they all had tremendous success with those pitches, so you can’t go wrong with them. And when you add that crossfire—absolutely unhittable. Again, I wish you loads of strikeouts, and have fun doing it.
Thanks Steven. I really want to focus on increasing my velocity for next season. Anything you recommend that really helps improve velo?
I incorporated what Zita calls the crossfire into my repertoire in middle school. I was deadly with a wiffle ball stepping directly at the right handed hitter then throwing across my body so the ball had the look of crossing in front of the hitter on its way to the plate. I figured if I could get people to bail out in fear of being hit by a .5 ounce wiffle ball, I could really make them uneasy with a 5 oz. baseball coming their way. It worked wonderfully as a pitch I could throw when I needed a no contact out or if I was behind in the count and needed a non-swinging strike. I could battle back from 2-0 with a curveball followed by a crossfire fastball or crossfire slider.
As I got older and my command improved greatly on all pitches, I never really threw it more than 5 times a game. I was not a pitcher who was regularly behind in the count and I threw any pitch on any count so hitters couldn’t sit fastball. Some hitters never saw my fastball all day.
What side arm pitcher today most resembles this move? I’d like to find a video or gif to share so people can get a visual… I can’t picture it myself
Yesterday’s game…Phillies LHP Diekman he slings that thing from the extreme left side and throws across. Not sure if his arm slot is low enough to be side arm though. I’ll look into it.
Paul, I’ve never seen this guy pitch but if he’s throwing at a low 3/4 angle it’s close enough. And that was a great move with that wiffleball to begin with—as I’ve said before, the crossfire move will work with any pitch. You also might want to keep an eye on a righthander named Louis Coleman, whatever team he’s with; he has the deadliest crossfire move I’ve ever seen, gets lots of strikeouts with it—as I used to do in m playing days. Let’s hear it for the crossfire!!!
Jake Diekman is definitely a closed-stride reliever…
Does Crossfire = Sidearm w/ a significantly closed stride?
Here are some other big league pitchers that have extreme strides with low-3/4 or sidearm arm slots…
The gif of Javier Lopez is exactly like I used to throw my side arm pitch. My normal arm slot is high 3/4 and I throw almost everything from that slot. Then I would simply drop and give the hitter one of these. Mostly they just smiled and shook their heads on the way back to the bench.
It wasn’t the most comfortable pitch to throw for me when I was using a baseball. I could throw a wiffle like that all day, but could only manage 5-10 of these with a real ball per outing. One per inning was about the right number for me. I wanted it to be a surprise and not something the hitter was looking for.
An interesting note about Aaron Loup—his last name is the French word for “wolf”, and many times when I saw him pitch I thought that he certainly lived up to that designation. Also, the Kansas City Royals had a late-inning reliever named Louis Coleman—I wonder if he’s still with the team—he was one of the deadliest I have ever seen; he crossfired everything he threw (like I used to do), and he struck out just about everyone he faced.
I personally throw a sinker, knuckle-curve, slider, and a circle-change. The sinker is a great pitch for sidearm throwers as mine looks like a fastball and has a sharp late break at the end that ties up batters but it took me some time to learn what I could throw. It is all about what pitches you can throw comfortably and confidently as if you don’t trust that your pitch is gonna get in there then it won’t. I practice throwing my pitches everyday so when it comes to games I can throw longer, harder, and sharper.
If your pitches are as good as you say they are, no point in adding another. Keep improving pitch quality with velo and watch the offers come in.