When Stuggles happen

When do you guys think struggles for pitching are most common?

That’s something that could happen at any time—I have seen it in the major leagues on so many different occasions. A pitcher may find that one or more of his pitches just isn’t working for him, or in the early innings he’s having trouble getting his rhythm going, or he may be tiring in the late innings. There are no easy answers, no magic fix-its; the pitcher just has to try and work his way through the situation.
For example, I have seen this with C.C. Sabathia at times. He gets off to a rough start and has a difficult couple of innings, then suddenly he finds his groove and for the rest of the game he’s untouchable. Another pitcher may start off strong and then run into trouble in the fifth inning or so, which causes a manager to signal to the bullpen to get someone up and throwing—often in a hurry, if it’s obvious that the pitcher is really losing it. But often the pitcher will get out of the inning because of a brilliant defensive play behind him, and from the sixth inning on he’s back on the beam—I’ve seen this too.
However, if it’s evident that the pitcher is tiring, say in the seventh or eighth inning—Jim Brosnan, a very good relief pitcher for Cincinnati in the 60’s once said that the thing to watch for is the pitcher’s legs. His rhythm is all shot to blazes and he seems unable to get the ball to go where he wants it to, and that is when the signal has to go out to the bullpen. I remember one game when Vic Raschi, the Yankees’ strong-armed righthander, was obviously tiring in the seventh inning, and he suddenly stepped off the rubber and was looking wistfully toward third base. When Bobby Brown came over to talk to him, Raschi asked him plaintively, “Where have you BEEN?” The ever-alert Yogi Berra lost no time in telling Casey Stengel to get a relief pitcher warming up in a hurry. In came Joe Page to the rescue.
And sometimes an injury to the pitcher is the reason he’s struggling, no matter what the inning, and if this happens he will often ask the manager to take him out of the game. This is something you don’t fool around with—a muscle pull or tear, for example. Yes, there are all sorts of reasons, and sometimes the pitcher will weather the storm and sometimes not. 8)

Kinda on topic I read this in the ABCs of Pitching.

3 most troublesome innings for pitchers -

1st inning, 5th inning, and 9th inning.

What are your guys thoughts on this? Maybe i’ll start a new thread!

Personally it’s different for me depending on whether I’m starting or relieving.

When I come out as a starter the first inning and the second inning are where I’m more succeptable to trouble. Later in the game like the 5th or 6th is when I’m pitching well.

When I come out of the bullpen I start out dominating hitters and if it gets to a third or fourth inning of relief I may start to lose it.

That’s exactly what I’ve been saying. 8)

I meant what years of your life.

Are there certain years of your baseball career that have more struggles then others?

When do you guys think struggles for pitching are most common?

In additon to what’s been said, there’s another aspect that has to do with “you now see me”,… “now I see you”. In other words, the batting order gets to see what the pitcher has and the pitcher gets to see what his/her challenges are, as the game progresses.

As the match up for the pitcher and catcher goes into innings, both benches are (should) constatly be adjusting their approach at the plate and on the mound. Also, the fielding team will place and adjust itself to ready certain players for the highest potential of a cause-n-effect, after-the-fact, of every single pitch for the batters that their facing.

Now it’s not unusual for “he’s struggling” to be the general view of those watching a pitcher at work. But, batter per batter, pitch selection per pitch selection, may be the deliberate choice by those in charge of a game plan at that time. In other words, pitches designed to bait or produce a certain play or series of plays may be in the works - but, the batter just didn’t go with it.

Also, what compounds this subject is the fact that going into any batting order are opportunities lost if a pitching staff can’t control the first four (4) batters in the first inning. So, in the second and third inning, a pitcher should be settled in well enough to take appart the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th batter in the second inning, then dealing handsomely with the 9th batter in the third, which should make facing the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd batter much easier - not a shoe-in, just a little easier. Unfortunately, when a pitcher is having problems dealing with the batting order in the second inning - he/she is either trying too hard, or even worse, is just not up to the task that day due to his/her election of pitches or that from the bench. Why? because in the second inning is when the numbers drift in the pitcher’s favor = facing the weakest part of the batting order, usually.

In any event, what’s been said thus far pretty much covers the subject.

Coach B.