Throw from the stretch!
With my kids’ activities and teaching all day I do not have a lot of time to head off to a field to watch a lot of high school games. In fact, I only managed to see three so far and for each one I only was able to stay the first couple innings. That’s ok because you can learn a lot about a team by watching them take pre-game warmups.
I also have the habit of watching both pitchers warm up as well. More about how to do that in tomorrow’s
post! I’m sorry to say that in all three games I attended, one of the two pitchers warming up made one of the most basic mistakes made by pitchers. They never once threw a single warm up pitch from the stretch. Not one.
One would think that this would be an obvious part of every pitchers pre-game warm up routine. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this happen at the high school level. To make matters worse, I’ve seen pitching coaches standing right next to the pitcher when he’s warming up and still no pitches from the stretch!
Folks, if you work with pitchers, please tell them that about half of their warm up pitches need to be from the stretch. We have all seen or known pitchers who always seem to give up the most runs in the first few innings before settling down. That’s a very dangerous pattern to get into. Part of the reason they get into that pattern is because the first time they throw from the stretch is when runners get on base. In a game is not the time to throw that first pitch from the stretch.
In one game I watched, a pitcher didn’t throw at all from the stretch in warm ups. He didn’t even throw from the stretch on the last pre-inning pitches where the catcher throws to second base. Everything was from the wind up. In the second inning, the other team got runners on base and the pitcher totally lost his command and gave up a number of runs.
Gee. I wonder why.
Tomorrow’s post: How to watch pitchers warm up