What to throw in 0-2 counts?

Attach, attack, attack… Don’t waste pitches. Put guys away with urgency!

What to throw in a 0-2 count really depends on what the hitter looks like, how he reacted to the first two pitches, etc.

If he is 2-0 and behind everything I throw, I would go with high heat, especially a 2-seamer in on his hands.

If he pulls everything, I will put a curve low and away or maybe a change (my change moves in on a right hander and away from a lefty), so as I said it depends on a lot of variables, an 0-2 count is a really general count as there are so many things you can learn from a batter when he walks up to the plate, how he stands, and even his first swing.

Carl Hubbell first spoke of pitching backwards, and later he told Ed Lopat about it.
If it was a fast ball count—0 and 2—he would come in there with a breaking pitch or an offspeed pitch. If he was behind in the count he would throw a fast ball. Basically, that’s what it is. You do the opposite of what the batter would be expecting. And where you throw it depends on the hitter’s strengths and his weaknesses. The thing one has to remember is: move the ball around—high, low, inside, outside, change speeds, and for Pete’s sake stay away from the middle of the plate! 8)

i’ll usually throw low inside to rightys and outside to leftys if the hitter has shown me he’s no competition i’ll just throw him another strike if he’s pretty good i’ll try to give him a really good breaking pitch low an inside (righty) but not in the dirt usually that will get them

I agree with Steven about not wasting pitches. However, it really depends on a whole bunch of factors like:

o Number of outs.
o Base runners.
o Score of the game.
o Batter.
o What/where the previous pitch was.
o Your stuff.
o What your best pitch is.
o What’s working for you on this day.
o Etc.

For example, if the tying or winning run is on 3B and your breaking pitch really moves, now is not the time for a wild pitch/passed ball so you might want to avoid the breaking pitch.

Yeah…it’s the “etc.” one has to watch out for.
Actually, a lot depends on the breaking pitch—and where you throw it. An offspeed breaking ball might be a good one to throw in that spot, especially if you’re facing a bases-loaded situation, because you don’t want to walk the batter and force in a run. I used to relieve from time to time in the late innings, and if the bases were loaded I would simply go for the strikeout. Not having a fast ball, I had to rely on a lot of breaking stuff, and fortunately I had a go-to pitch I knew I could rely on—old “Filthy McNasty”, the slider with the sharp late break. I used my other stuff to set up the batters for it or a variation of it (like the “slip” pitch). No ifs, ands, buts or bases on balls. No futzing around. Just get the side out. 8)

My coach has catcher setup just off the plate and we try to hit that spot. His goal is to have us throw something that the hitter is willing to chase - but can’t square the bat up on. Sometimes this works - sometimes it doesn’t.

Kids on the right path there…imo
My opinion on 0-2 is opportunity…I’m also with Steven…I hate nibbling and “waste” pitching…what I want is for my pitcher to “define” that boarderline strike…iow…stay focused and aggressive but see if you can get the call on that inside and up (Over belt hi, on the hands) pitch to that power hitting lefty with the “pretty conventional lefty swing” or outside corner at the knees for that aggressive “pull hitting” righty. If you had the chance to watch the Maddux/Glavine era…Tommy G was always working that outside corner and using any chance he had to expand it…same obviously with “The Great Greg”, the great ones know they need those “waste” pitches…in this day and age of pitch counts…it’s just dumb to “waste” precious pitch opportunities.

Or, you could pull a “Dice-K” and nibble, nibble, nibble; thereby running the count to 3-2 and then give up a laser :lol: (sorry, couldn’t resist)!

I usually throw a fast ball low and outside, a fastball in the dirt (really low, not in the dirt), and a curveball in the dirt.

I am all in favor of trying to get guys out as quickly as possible (or with the least amount of pitches).
What to throw a batter on 0-2? there’s not really a straight answer to that.
Really it depends on what you have already thrown to the batter,
what you think the batter is looking for, what the batters likes/dislikes…
Lot of factors figuring into this question.
Personally, I like to my two-seam low and away in 0-2 counts (one of my better pitches) or a curve. I would think a really good change-up could fool hitters on 0-2 if placed well.
Alot of times, a well placed four-seam fastball will do the trick.
I don’t think most batters are necessarily looking for any high heat on 0-2. Movement, speed, location are the important aspects on any pitch, especially 0-2.[/code]

There’s a great story about Vic Raschi when he first came up to the Yankees. In his first start he was pitching against the Philadelphia A’s, and he ran into trouble in the fourth inning—runners on first and third, one out, and a dangerous hitter (it might have been Elmer Valo) at the plate. Raschi was standing on the mound, trying to figure out what to do next, and then suddenly he heard a disembodied voice coming from somewhere near him: “He can’t hit a high fast ball.” The puzzled pitcher stepped off the mound and looked around him, trying to determine where the voice was coming from. Now, in those days, there were three umpires working the game, and when there was a runner on base one of them—usually the first-base umpire—would take up a position between the mound and second base. So Raschi looked around—and he saw umpire Bill Summers bent over behind the mound, tying his shoelaces. Other than that, the umpire didn’t move—but then Raschi heard the disembodied voice again: “Yeah, you heard me right—he can’t hit a high fast ball.” A brief pause, then the voice continued: “We Massachusetts boys have to stick together.” This time there was no mistaking where it was coming from: Summers was talking to Raschi.
(Raschi was from West Springfield, and Summers was from somewhere near Boston.) So the big righthander returned to the mound, went to his high fast ball, and got the side out without being scored on.
Yes, it’s very true that most of the time the batter will not be looking for the high cheese on a two-strike count, so if you’re sure you can get him out on that pitch, go ahead, throw it. 8)

My son’s high school team had a game recently against one of the better teams in his conference. He had pretty good stuff through the second inning, no one really touched him, five strike outs, no runs, no hits, one walk, but in the third inning he ran into trouble. Through the third and fourth innings he had five base runners and a number of hard hit balls, but he was lucky and didn’t give up any runs.

The coach took him out after the fourth.

Through the third and fourth innings he had four batters with 0-2 counts that either hit the ball hard into outs or got hits against him. He had one 1-2 count where the ball was lined into a double play.

His problems started when he walked the lead-off batter in the third. He was still throwing the ball pretty well; but from that point forward when he got a favorable count, he was trying too hard to throw a strike. I call it his get-it-over pitch, mostly a fast ball, but sometimes his breaking pitch, which usually floats up to the plate belt high with flashing letters pasted over it saying “HIT ME!”.

I waited to talk with him about it until the next day. I asked him what he was trying to do.

“Throw strikes,” he said.

Well, I told him there was a difference between tossing the ball, placing the ball over the plate, and throwing strikes. He wasn’t throwing strikes, he was tossing melons. “Throw the ball,” I said. “If you miss, you miss. I’d rather you let it go, throw it hard, than just throw something over to get it over.”

So in addressing this thread, I would say I don’t know the best pitch from a pitcher’s repertoire, or location to throw a ball for each individual 0-2 count; but I do know that if it’s not your best pitch thrown with intent, you’re not likely to be successful.

I believe you should make them hit the ball. I believe also it depends if you are a finese pitcher vs a power pitcher. I think if you are a power pitcher you go right at them. If you are finese pitcher then you finese the guy. Baseball Training

Many moons ago my wise and wonderful pitching coach—Ed Lopat, a key member of the Yankees’ legendary Big Three pitching rotation—had formed a basic premise which he shared with me. He said, “Get the ball over the plate and make them hit hit it. Make them go after YOUR pitch, what you WANT them to hit.” Nowadays they call it “pitching to contact”, but this was what he told me, and he said that this is a basic element of strategic pitching.
Even if one is mainly a strikeout pitcher—as I was—there are times when it’s a good idea to make the batter put the ball in play, so you want to make him hit your pitch—preferably right at an infielder. So from time to time I would do this, always keeping one thing in mind: Figure out what the batter is looking for, and don’t give it to him. Give him a pitch that he would have to swing at, something he is likely to miss or foul it off. For example: you have a 3-and-0 count on the hitter. You throw him a pitch that looks like a strike—something that looks too good to let go by—and he swings and either misses or fouls it off. Now the count is 3-and-1, and you have a little breathing room.
Strategic pitching. It’s never too early to start exploring the basics of this important element. 8) :slight_smile:

Some guy named Maddux used to say to throw strikes when they’re taking and throw balls when they’re swinging. Just do that.

Yeah, but “some guy named Maddux” never had to face Yogi Berra. Now there was a hitter who would go after anything he felt he could get a piece of, and he got enough of a piece of whatever pitch to go for extra bases. They used to say about Yogi that the only way to pitch to him was to throw the ball under the plate!
When you’re facing a hitter like that—and there are a few of them around the major leagues—consider the situation. Say there’s one out and the bases are empty, and it’s the middle of the game. You could do what Ed Lopat would do sometimes—give that batter an intentional pass if the next hitter is much weaker and can be pitched to. In that case you can have your infield at double-play depth and go for that. But suppose, even though it’s the middle of the game, the opposing manager pulls his batter from the game and sends up a pinch hitter, one who eats pitchers for breakfast, lunch, dinner and between-meal snacks and has a .380 average to show for it? No, you are NOT going to walk this guy, because then you have runners on first and second and if either one—or both—could be perceived as threats to steal—you’ve just dug yourself a nice little hole!
In that case—going back to that first hitter, the thing to do is challenge him. Make him go after your pitch, what you want him to hit, and whatever he’s looking for, don’t give it to him. Go with your best pitch and go for the strikeout—that guy might be trying too hard, and you can get him with a changeup. Now you have two out and can breathe a little easier. The opposing manager is not going to waste a pinch hitter here. I used to face such situations when I had to come into the game in relief—in the late innings, when we had a one-run lead to hold on to. And, being a strikeout pitcher, that’s what I did, and I had a killer slider to go to for that. 8)

When I look at the question and your answer together, I don’t get the sense that you’re asking what specific pitch or location to throw, but rather the mindset that should be used. And BTW, I happen to agree with you, that if at all possible, you finish the at bat on the 3rd pitch.

A lot of people ASSUME incorrectly that the best possible conclusion is that the ball not be hit on 0-2, whether its swung and missed or not swung at no matter if it’s a strike 3 called or ball 1. But there’s nothing at all wrong with a ball in play or a foul ball. After all, on a foul, while the batter isn’t out, he’s definitely still in the ultimate defensive position for a hitter. And on a BIP, what are the chances of it not producing an out?

But the only real way to look at this issue, is of course to look at that’s really taking place, not what you THINK is taking place. The 1st thing you need to know, is what’s taking place for both your pitchers and your hitters. After all, if they’re having success, why even mess with them, and if they’re not, surely not all are having equally poor performances. Wouldn’t it make more sense to concentrate on players with the most severe problems?

I love it! :bigtup:


Are you the HC or the PC of your team? and what’s name of the school and location? I’d truly love to compare the numbers between your pitchers and ours because we’ve NEVER had anyone in the program whit a pitching background.

Our PCs have historically been more or less babysitters who watch the P’s in bullpens, and will occasionally offer some advise about some cliché thing they think works for everyone, but they truly aren’t “developing” anyone. I think it would be interesting to see how well the pitchers fare under the guidance of someone with a strong pitching background do ,a nd compare them with our guys.