Last Saturday my son Jason started a game and the first inning went well, but in the second inning things fell apart. We have been focusing on his lead arm action, posture and weight shift. We have mostly been concerned about pain in his elbow area after pitching awhile. But in the process of all this, he (and I) were forgetting about “pitching smart”. I noticed in last weekend’s game he could have gotten out of the second inning with just one run scored. He had a 1-2 count on the batter with 2 outs. I am thinking “throw your changup”, the catcher calls for an inside 2 seamer, he leaves it over the plate and boom, next thing you know he finishes the inning with 5 runs given up. He has done this at other times as well. The catcher calls it (coaches don’t call the pitches on his team),so he thought he had to throw it. I told him he needed to educate his catcher about his pitches.
So we had a conversation about pitching smarter. I reminded him that he is the pitcher and has the ability to shake off a pitch. I told him that going forward he would always throw his changeup (which is a good one) on counts with 2 strikes. Of course I realize there is not always a simple rule of thumb and one does have to vary,so batters don’t get locked in. But I was trying to keep it simple for him in the beginning.
Well yesterday he had another start and he began to implement what we discussed. First of all I noticed his lead arm action was getting better from all his mirror work and focus when he pitched and threw. His fastball had good pop. No radar gun, so not sure, plus it was pretty cold outside with a strong wind across the field. Second he started pitching smarter. Final stats: 7 inning complete game pitched, 7 K’s, 4 hits, NO WALKS, 3 runs, 1 earned,79 total pitches. I have to say he was AWESOME. His team won 4-3. The team he pitched against is a disciplined, well hitting team. In their previous game they almost beat the team who won the whole tournament. He had them totally befuddled. He varied his fast ball and changeup throughout the game. Even when they prepared for it, they were missing, because it had such great movement at the end. I heard their dugout telling them to “stay back”, “watch for the change”. It made no difference, because he varied when he threw it in the count from inning to inning as well. He added in a few curves to keep them honest. Best of all, by game’s end his arm was tired, but not hurting!
I have heard Dick say before that a well placed fast ball and a good changeup will get batters out (forgive me Dick if I have mispoke)and he is right. If the batters weren’t striking out, they were hitting mostly grounders to the infield. His fielders did a great job behind him, a real team effort all around. The best part of it all for his mother and I was to see the big smile on his face while he was on the field. He was confident, engaged and having a good time. We are hoping this is the start to more smiles this season.
Sounds life a pivotal moment has been reached in the beginning of what could be a great ball career for this young man. I’m only 22 btw so I can recall back to being his age. As baseball enthusiast we all love to hear when the next person is performing well in this game of mostly,(a good hitter only hits .300, lol), failure as they call it. However nothing feels better than being able to enjoy the fruits of your labor and hard work. I tip my hat not only to your son but to YOU for standing behind your boy and supporting him to the full degree. I believe the chemistry you and him are sharing is more beautiful than a fastball low and away at the knees to ring a batter up lol. Best of luck to you BOTH!
Thank you for your kind comments. You are definitely right when it comes to the relationship between my son and I. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the “getting it right” or “fixing what is wrong” and losing the relationship in it all. I keep reminding myself and him that we have a short time together “doing baseball”. Not sure what his future holds in terms of baseball, but want our experience to be one he cherishes in the long run, no matter what he does in life.
By the way, are you still pitching and playing baseball?
Well said….Good man.
Are you still playing/pitching?
Sorry about that I didn’t see your last question on the last post. I played ball from little league on up through high school and after high school sorta lost the taste for baseball. Maybe I was mentally worn down from playing year-round and needed a break. But now I’m back and hungry as ever and attempting to play some college ball next year at my local Juco. I find myself making an all out effort to erase any bad habits I’ve had and to implement these new teachings that Mr. Mills offers based off science and laws of physics & bio-mechanics. So I’m hoping all this hard work pays off, Lol.
What a great outing.
Yes..until catchers start taking the loss for games I make my own decisions.
My favorite pitch has always been the change-up as most hitters hate it. I was a fastball/change-up pitcher until I got to pro ball and then had to learn a curveball. But never had to throw very many.
With 0-2 you can’t beat a letter high fastball followed by a change-up in the dirt.
Two change-ups in a row and sometimes 3 is a killer for 3rd and 4th hitters who are always looking dead red.
As Pedro Martinez always said: “Get ahead with strikes and get ’em out with balls.”
Tell Jason congratulations.
I call pitches for my son’s 12u Summer travel team and decided to use the letter high FB on an 0-2 or 1-2 count this past Saturday when my son David was pitching during a game. Boy, was it effective. I found most hitters had a tough time laying off the high FB and those that did broke their ankles on the next pitch which was an off-speed pitch down and out of the strike zone. There were 3 dropped 3rd strikes, but no one reached base (nothing like having a heads-up catcher).
David pitched 4 complete innings: 10K, 0 hits, 1BB, 1 ER. and 66 total pitches. His fastball and command were the best I’ve ever seem from him.
Thanks, Dick, for the tips.
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