Strike One – It’s That Important


#1

STRIKE ONE is your most important pitch. It sets the table for all other pitches in your inventory. Also, most batters that I’ve seen, college on down the competive level, will acutally take the first pitch they see, LOOKING, during the first two innings at bat. So, basically what every batter will do during the first two innings, generally, is give you a strike - gratus. Getting that strike one call regardless of location will generally tell you where the umpire’s perception is that day. You MUST gain strike one on the first pitch of your first two pitches to batters 6,7,8, and 9. On the other hand, DH’s are handled differently when takeing those slots in an apposing batting order. After your strike one call, WORK FAST with delivering your next pitch – don’t let that batter get a chance to wipe his memory clean of what your last pitch looked lit. A visual imprint of that strike one can actually work in your favor – just watch Mariano Rivera work his slider … one after the other, everyone looked the same, but they were’nt. Strike one gets the batter on the defensive, regardless of the count – take advantage of it by changing speeds, location and so on. Above all, even with the count is 3-1, don’t implode, keep the strikes coming. Remember, caught looking, swing and miss, and fouled off are all strikes. On fouled off, notice the pitch that your deliveried and if your fastball by location, if a power hitter pulled the ball sharply, he’s ahead of your fastball. If he fouled it off the opposite way, he’s behind your fastball. When a batter, regardless of where he is in the batting order fouls off your braking stuff in the same way, his perception of your breaking ball is not good. In other words he’s picking up your breaking ball way too late in the break to be effective. Now there are exceptions – but they ‘re rare.
Strike one is a shot in the arm for you. A dose of “ok kid, you’re still in there.” Give yourself credit for a call in your favor.


#2

The best pitch in any hurler’s repertoire is STRIKE ONE. You get that, you’re ahead of the batter and the game. And when followed up by strike two and strike three, it’s something to be treasured. One thing to remember: it’s not always a good idea to start off with a fastball, because 97% of the time the batter is looking for it. Better to “pitch backwards”—start off with an offspeed or breaking ball, get ahead in the count 0-2 or 1-2, then come in there with the cheese.


#3

Couldn’t agree more… awesome topic. Get to two strikes as fast as possible. Stats swing so far in favor of the pitcher vs. the batter when you get ahead in the count early. It all starts with Strike 1.


#4

Suppose you were to report for work, oh… one and half days (1.5) out of a five day workweek. How long do you think the paychecks would keep on coming. Or, suppose you were to report to class in school … any school, with the same attendance record.

The answer to the above is obvious, of course - not good.

But, in the game of baseball this same equation - one and a half days out of five, or 30% is consider pretty darn good when we substitute days in attendance for pitcher Vs. batter stat. In baseball we just add another zero to the product = 300%.

I can overemphasize the importance for pitching strikes. Sure, a lot goes into the work, no debate there. But, that’s what your job is - to pitch, not throw.

So, with all your questions about “how fast,” … “what’s the velocity for my age,” … and so on, remember that strikes will always work in your favor. But, does this mean that you won’t get hit, and hit badly in some games - of course not. On the other hand, your consistency to deliver a strike, one after the other, as a routine will soon develop into your ability to locate that strike to your advantage and that advantage that seven (7) other players behind you can provide.

While considering this topic here, don’t fool yourself by giving examples of MLB play. You’re an amateur at a level that doesn’t even come close to MLB competition. You face an entirely different batting order and their abilities, your playing surface is “if-ee” at best, you don’t have the opportunity to devote your life to training and conditioning yourself for this game for a living, and so on.


#5

Excellent point about the field conditions and even the average defensive abilities of the players behind you. Getting ahead in the count leads to less solid contact than being behind to the hitter. Getting ahead makes at bats shorter, keeps the defense more alert, and they stand a better chance of making the plays for you. Kids who throw strikes are often ahead of the game as they are the pitchers who begin to locate within the zone in later years.