Situational Pitching

Leadoff man in the fourth inning steps up and smacks a double in the left center gap. Immediately, what is your thought process?

ALWAYS REMEMBER YOUR SITUATION. Man on second base, nobody out, what is that hitter trying to do? What’s the score? Assuming it’s a close game, that hitter’s trying to hit a groundball to the right side. Before you even step foot on the rubber, this thought should have crossed your mind. Whether your a lefty or a righty, you know your pitching arsenal. What pitch or preferably pitches are going to get that hitter to hit the ball to the left side of the infield to keep that runner at second? We had a rule the last couple years in pro ball that when a man is on second base in a tight ballgame, the 0-0 pitch is an inside fastball. If it’s not, then you get fined. Does this mean you can’t pitch outside the rest of the at bat? Certainly not. If anything though, these outer third pitches are setup pitches. I want contact to be made on a pitch on the inner third. Mind set and execution in this situation is critical. If you don’t have the right mindset your relying on luck, if you can’t execute your relying on luck. It’s important situations like these, and there are many more, that can decide a baseball game.

1 or 2 runs may seperate two teams in a game in the box score. But in reality it may have been 1 or 2 pitches that determined a win or a loss.

So here’s the question… When your on the mound, are you thinking… are the wheels turning when certain situations arise?

Nice post, Hammer. You’re starting to sound like Coach B.

ha, thanks Roger. I re-read it to myself and I thought Coach B.

Just want some of the youngsters on this site to start thinking about different situations that are vital throughout the game.

Excellent. That kind of information exchange as well as attitude of helping others is what makes this site special.

Great topic Hammer, lots of valuable insight can be learned from a post like this one!

In my neck of the woods we call it “strategic pitching”, and the coach I worked with was one of the best in the history of the game when it came to this.
There was a beautiful example of this in one Yanks-Indians game on June 4, 1950. Ed Lopat was scheduled to start against Bob Lemon, and on that hot, muggy afternoon he went out for a walk and suddenly heard the sounds of batting practice coming from inside Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium (aka “The Mistake By The Lake”). He sneaked inside, spied on the Tribe and saw that they were practicing for him and his slow stuff. That night the game started, and for the first four innings all they got from him was fast balls and hard sliders, not even so much as a curve ball. The Tribe broke a number of bats, and when they decided to go back to their free-swinging ways he switched back to his usual control pitching, giving them nothing but “snake jazz”. He shut them out 7-0, giving up six scattered singles, walking one and striking out five.
When Lopat asked me if I knew why he was telling me this story, my answer led into a discussion of strategic pitching…specifically, one aspect of it, what to do about a batter coming up for the third time in the game. He started off by telling me, "You’ve gotten him out twice before. But now he’s up for the third time…"
This is one aspect of pitching which is essential to know and make use of at whatever level of pitching you happen to be.