Think the Game

Pitch-to-Pitch Adjustments on the Mound

The Situation:

The pitcher’s team has just scored two runs in the bottom of the 5th inning to give his team the lead. The pitcher heads out to the mound to start the top of the 6th and goes through his warm-ups nonchalantly. The first batter, who is naturally selective, and is looking for anyway to get on base, steps up to the plate.

The Play:

The pitcher throws the first pitch in the dirt. With a 1-0 count, the hitter is looking for a pitch in a particular spot. The pitcher goes to deliver another pitch and misses again in the dirt. The count is now 2-0. The pitcher is frustrated and tries to throw the third pitch harder, and again misses in the dirt. The count is now 3-0, the pitcher, even more frustrated, misses in the dirt one more time and allows the lead-off hitter to reach base on a walk. This gives the other team some momentum, and a good chance to score a run and work to shorten the lead.

The Outcome:

The batter walks and reaches first base. The pitcher becomes extremely frustrated with himself because he knows it is never good to walk the leadoff batter.

What Went Wrong:

First, let’s go back to the warm-up pitches. The pitcher nonchalantly went through them and was not ready to compete when the batter stepped up to the plate. Secondly, after the pitcher missed with two straight pitches in the dirt he did not step off the mound to regroup and make an adjustment. He simply got more frustrated and threw two more pitches in the same spot. In a situation like that it is important to realize when you need to step off and take a deep breath to regroup. The pitcher should have stepped off the rubber, taken a deep breath and told himself one of his quick cues to get himself back on track. During a game you will not always be at your best, but you must learn to make adjustments and how to compete when you are not at your best, in order to give your team a chance to win.