What To Throw, When To Throw It

Hey, this is my first post, im 15 and from Victoria BC.

I throw 3 pitches well (4-seam, Cutter/Slider, Curve), and am close to throwing these well (2-seam, Change, Sinker).

I have good velocity, and am wondering what I should be looking to throw, and when. Thanks for the Help.

Edit: Also, is there any pitch combo, that really sets up the batter for strike 3? When Im up 0-2 or 1-2, what should I look to set him up with?

BE UNPREDICTABLE!! If you always throw the same thing at the same time you’ll get rocked.
If a kid hits your fastball throw him a curve. If a kid can’t catch up to your fastball don’t help him out, keep burning your heater in there.

My pitching coach—an active major-league pitcher—used to say this all the time, and he sometimes had to tell the pitchers he worked with more than once: “Never the same pitch, never the same place, never the same speed.” He told me, “Move the ball around—high, low, inside, outside, and change speeds.” He had made an intensive study of the hitters from the time he had been in the minor leagues, and we would discuss how to pitch to these guys—and sometimes when not to. His specialty was strategic pitching, and he was one of the best in the history of the game, and what I learned from him many years ago—priceless.
So you’re absolutely right.

Oh, Josh! Where have you been? I’m 73 and my playing days are way behind me. I played from 1949 to the early 1960s, in New York, with a high-level team that could almost have been called semipro if we’d gotten paid. I had to quit when my work schedule caught up to me and I lost my free weekends—darn and double darn!—but it was fun, especially because we played major league rules all the way, and I had such a great time making the opposing batters look very stupid indeed.
I was a natural, true sidearmer with a consistent release point, and I did NOT have anything resembling a fast ball so I had to go to the “snake jazz” early on. My best pitch, which I had learned at the age of 16, was a very nasty slider. 8)

Snake Jazz is my favorite new term for the week.

Haha Snake Jazz. Zito you have any pics of you pithcing? Would love to see them. I know it was awhile ago but just wondering

Funny how my first name gets misspelled all the time—maybe I should just change my name to Hermione Hosselplotz! It’s ZITA, and no, I don’t have any photos from that time, more’s the pity. By the way, I love that term “snake jazz”—meaning all sorts of breaking stuff, which I had to go to early on because I didn’t have a fast ball worthy of the name. I got along quite well with snake jazz—here’s the repertoire I worked with when I was playing:
Curve ball (which came attached to my sidearm delivery)
Knuckle curve
Palm ball
Circle change
Slip pitch (there’s a story behind that one; it’s a slider thrown with a knuckleball grip)
Slow curve
The “whoops” pitch—something I never realized I had; it was a fast ball 81 miles an hour, and for a finesse pitcher such as I was, this was a fast ball.
A nice little arsenal, and I knew what to do with it.
Oh yeah—the crossfire. That’s a move that works only with the sidearm delivery, and it gave me twice as many pitches. It all made up for the fact that I couldn’t hit any better than Lefty Gomez! :slight_smile:

Hey Pitch.

I can’t give you a magical pitch combination to get every hitter out. The only thing you can do is to study the hitters as or before (if u have the chance) you pitch to them. Are they crowding the plate? Where do they like the ball? What pitches do they take their best cuts on? Find these out and use it to your advantage.

The one thing I don’t see enough of anymore is pitchers climbing the ladder as it were. If you have a count in your favor, every so often throw a nice fastball at eye level and see how they react. Don’t be afraid to throw a ball outta the strike zone when the count is in your favor. Trust your stuff and pitch to their weakness.

Have fun with it.



I like to make mental notes of the hitters body language, where he stands, where his practice swings are, how aggressive he is.
Sometimes you can make him impatient and swing at almost anything by slowing things up on the mound a bit too.
I don’t think it’s about what to throw when predetermined but knowing what to throw at the moment.

One of the great old-time (late 30s and 40s) pitchers was St. Louis Cardinals ace Howie Pollet, and when he would hold pregame meetings with the guys who would play behind him he would set up his defense and tell them, not only what he would throw, but also WHERE. He was very defense-oriented and wanted to make sure that the players were set up for such things as the double play which could start anywhere, even in the outfield.
And when Whitey Ford came up to the Yankees Ed Lopat would work intensively with him. He would sit Ford down in the dugout and go over every batter on every team in the league. He would point out that this one was a notorious bad-ball hitter, this one was a dead pull-hitter who wouldn’t go to the opposite field if he stood on his head, this other one was a sucker for a high inside pitch, and that one over there—the only way to pitch to HIM was to throw the ball under the plate because he would go after anything if he felt he could get a piece of it, the way Yogi Berra used to do!
Lopat—what an incredible pitching coach he was!—did the same thing with me. In a casual, matter-of-fact way that always kept me relaxed and receptive, he would talk about pitching to the hitters in various situations. He told me, “Move the ball around—high, low, inside, outside—and change speeds.” This last was essential—he talked about how too many pitchers would fall into a particular pattern, always starting batters off with something like a fast ball, and he told me to avoid doing that. He advocated pitching backwards, starting off with the snake jazz and then, when he would have an 0-2 or 1-2 count on the batter, coming in with the harder stuff. :slight_smile: 8)