Pointer #8 — Jan. 24, 2024
Two-Seam vs. Four-Seam Fastball - both will help you!
Most pitchers are one or the other - some use both equally. It is good to know how to throw both. Here are a few situations, of many, that support this idea:
Cold weather - Early spring games can make it hard to feel and control the ball in your fingers, especially the two-seam grip. The adjustment? Grab it across four seams. Get some "traction" on the ball. Your pitch may not have the same movement, but it will have a good chance of getting over the plate when you need it.
Hitters counts and you have subpar secondary stuff - There will be days when you are battling out there with "nothing". If you find yourself in a 1-0 or 2-1 count, for example, give your fastball a different look and direction by changing to either a four or two-seamer. If you are four seam guy and you know the hitter is sitting on it, fire the two-seam runner in there! It could be the difference between a gapper and a ground ball to short. On the reverse side, if you are a sinker-type of pitcher, you know that hitter will be "hunting" for that knee-high two-seamer. You might keep it low, but if the hitter is looking low - it could end up as a screaching liner past third into the corner. The adjustment? Stick an elevated heater at eye level. The surprise factor alone will get into the hitter's head. You've heard the term, "change eye level". That's the idea. It will open up the strike zone for you once you go four seamers up...don't worry about velo, just locate it.
Tired arm - This is especially useful for the four seam, "power" guys, who might have a tired arm that day, or maybe its pitch 80, the third time around the order, and you need to give the hitters a new look. Take what your body gives you. This is easier to handle if you have practiced throwing some two-seamers in your bullpen sessions. If you are a two-seam guy with a tired arm, you will probably see the ball running out of the zone early or going into the dirt because you lost a mph or two. This makes it hard to get that late action on the ball. The adjustment? Just like in the cold weather, go four-seam and get the ball into the strike zone.
Remember, on those days when you are grinding, try every and anything you can to keep your team in the game. Always compete with what you have on any particular day.