Baseball Magazine

Get Strikes by Throwing Strikes

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

It’s not often that you’ll see a major league umpire have two different strike zones for both pitchers.  Consistency is what got those umpires to that level.  However, you occasionally will see slightly different zones even at that level.  One would think that would be a flaw in the umpire but in reality, it is more of a flaw with one of the two pitchers.  Let me explain.


Be around the zone more and the zone will probably expand

Pitcher #1 is all over the strike zone and is having a tough time putting the ball where he wants it.  He rarely throws the ball to where the catcher is setting up. Because there is a lot of movement by the catcher’s mitt, it becomes tougher for the umpire to call strikes, especially if the pitch ends up as a borderline strike.  Along with movement by the catcher, the umpire gets used to saying “ball” on many of this pitcher’s pitches.  Therefore, he is more likely to continue saying “ball” on these borderline strikes.  Put these things together and you’ll understand why an opposing coach will say on a borderline strike given to this kind of pitcher, “he doesn’t deserve that strike!”

Pitcher #2 pounds the strike zone over and over.  Not only that but he generally throws the ball consistently where the catcher is set up.  Because the catcher does not move his glove very much, the umpire sees that the ball is always in or near the zone.  He gets used to saying “strike” and usually will give more close pitches to that pitcher.
  In the greater scheme of things, this may seem inconsistent and unfair on the part of umpires.  However, in the real world, this does happen. 

Instead of arguing about close pitches being called balls, pitchers need to realize that the more they are around the plate, the more strikes they are going to get.  And that is something every pitcher can control.

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