Sunday, March 18, 2012

Doubling Up On Pitches

Well... it's been a while since my last visit to the blog-sphere, but here I am and just in time for the start of the spring season!

The topic of discussion today is doubling up on pitches. Why, when and how?

First, what does it mean to double up on pitches? Simply put, it is throwing the same pitch twice in a row to a similar location. The reasons we do this are too numerous to list here but some of the most important are as follows.

I would say the most important reason is to show everyone, including the umpire that you are in control. This effects the game in two ways. One, showing the umpire that you can be consistent will give you a better chance of getting borderline calls later in the game, especially when it counts the most. Example: If one of my pitchers throw a pitch I feel is too close to be a ball, I will ask him to throw it again, in the same spot. This is a tactful way (without showing the up the umpire and without emotion) to say "hey I thought that was a strike. Here it is again, take another look". It's a challenge. Maybe the umpire didn't get a good look at the last one and the probability that he calls this one a strike is much greater.

Next, this shows the opposition that you can put the ball anywhere you want at any given time. This is a good way to keep a hitter off balance. Now the hitter knows that he has to hit your pitch, not his.

Last, it shows your defense that you are in control. This takes the pressure of them and if your consistently throwing strikes, you keep your offense on their toes so they can make those tough plays to bail you out when you need it.

Now, that being said, I am not saying throw 2 pitches over middle back to back. Let the situation dictate when you double-up and how. One example would be a 1-0 pitch where the previous pitch just missed on the outside corner. I am going right back there and getting that call. Another example would be an 0-1 pitch. You just threw a fastball right on the outside corner for a strike. This is not a pitch a good hitter would normally swing at, but what have you done? You just opened up that side of the plate. Go right back there but move the pitch about 2-3 inches (1 ball) outside of that. I would say 80% of the time you will get a swing, which is exactly what you want.

You have to use this method with all of your pitches. Double-up on curves, low in the zone. I guarantee you if you can show control in this way, you will be more successful.

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