Baseball Pitching Tips: Don’t EVER Ask Me This Question!

In the last four plus decades, I’ve answered all baseball questions respectfully and to the best of my ability. If you are a player, a coach or a baseball parent, please don’t ever test me by asking me this one or you and I are going to have a problem!

I’ve answered many questions on baseball hitting, baseball pitching, baseball coaching and more over several decades. I can proudly say that not once did I ever think the question was not a worthwhile question and I always showed the utmost respect to the person asking the question. However, there is one question on the topic of baseball pitching that I’m having a hard time coming to grips with. It is way off base, no pun intended. I must have heard it 1000 times. The question is one that pertains to baseball pitching and is asked to a baseball pitcher about what his approach is when pitching to a real good hitter.

The worst baseball question on earth is …”How do you pitch to so and so?”

The sportswriter, sportscaster or baseball commentator is asking a baseball pitcher how he pitches to a certain outstanding baseball hitter. I’ve learned a lot over the years by simply listening to these guys. For the most part, they are very intelligent and great “baseball people.” But like I said, this question irks me!

Does the person asking the question think that the answer may be “breaking balls, low and away?” Or does the person think the answer is “fastballs up and in?” Or can it be “changeups down low?” The proper answer given by any baseball pitcher who has any experience at all will always be the same and I’ve heard this answer 1,000 times in the last four or five decades. It’s almost word for word, the same exact answer.

And the answer to this annoying question is…”I try to mix up my pitches, change speeds and move the ball around on him.”

What other answer can there possibly be? Okay I’m kidding about being annoyed. In all honesty, the question really doesn’t bother me but I want to make a point. I understand that as a baseball pitcher, you may have a favorite pitch you like to use to a certain very good hitter, but you can’t rely on it exclusively.

Let’s use an outstanding right-handed hitter as an example. If you kept throwing him fast balls low and away, it’s just a matter of time before he hits a “seed” to right center field. If you kept throwing him fastballs up and in, eventually he will cream one to left field or left center. If you threw him all breaking balls, again eventually he will clobber you.

The point here is that real good hitters do not have glaring weaknesses! That’s the reason they are real good baseball hitters. They may handle some pitches better than others, but they have no glaring weaknesses. And the pitcher has to “mix it up” because the real good hitters will make adjustments.

If a batter is having a hard time with your changeup, you can’t simply keep throwing it. The good hitter will go from looking terrible and then on about the third one he sees, he will put the baseball in orbit. And always remember…..catchers don’t catch high changeups, spectators in the outfield bleachers catch them! That’s why your only approach as a baseball pitcher has to be to mix up your pitches, change speeds, change locations and there is no set answer as to where you specifically try to locate a pitch or what particular pitch you throw to get an outstanding hitter out.

One of the better baseball pitching tips to remember is “different pitches, different speeds and different locations” and that should be your ONLY approach to be successful against the great hitters. Mix it up and go get em!

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