The louder it gets the softer you throw
The title of today’s post is a phrase I heard Jamie Moyer say during a Phillies broadcast. It was a big moment late in the game and the hometown fans (the Phillies were away) were quite loud. His co-announcer asked him how pitchers deal with these situations where
they can hardly hear themselves think. Moyer said that the benefit pitchers have is that the batter knows the situation as well and can hear the crowd too. The batter’s body starts to get amped up in the excitement and usually becomes a little anxious at the plate. As a result, batters often get ahead of themselves and speed up their hitting mechanics. Because of that, Moyer would slow his pace and pitches down. He would take a little more time between pitches. He would go to his change-up a little more often. He would step off the rubber once or twice. All this was an attempt to get the batter more and more anxious before the pitch.
For most pitchers, these situations get their own bodies out of whack and often lead to bad pitches. Being able to control your emotions and stay rock steady on the idea that YOU are the one in control can greatly improve how you pitch in big situations.
Of course, that takes a lot of poise, body control, and the ability to trust your stuff.
Tomorrow’s post: Pitch-out tips for catchers