Updated: Apr 19, 2022
We all know hitting is contagious. It seems as if hits come in bunches. If a few people get a hit, everybody hits. Pitchers get overwhelmed with baserunners, lose focus on pitch execution, and hitters get more mistakes in the middle of the zone. Hitters work hard on their craft, and coaches devise a lineup that they think will be the most productive. However, one little-known factor greatly affects an offense's potency, yet manages to fly under the radar the majority of the time.
That's right: a pitcher can control his run support more than he knows. Simply by getting his hitters on and off the field as quick as possible, a pitcher can contribute to his own run support by throwing first pitch strikes, keeping his defense engaged by putting the ball in play, and working at a quick tempo.
Getting your offense off the field quickly is effective for a few reasons...
Keeping Your Hitters Engaged
There is nothing worse as a defender than watching your pitcher throw way too many pitches. He has the stuff to mow down an elite lineup, but can't throw consistent strikes and resorts to pitching around guys, throwing 5-6 pitches per batter.
The game becomes the pitcher versus himself - not a fun way to play baseball. Every pitch is the same: "Can he throw a strike? Maybe, let's see. Nope. Try again next pitch. Let's see if he figures it out... Nice, strike one. Let's do that again. Oops, another ball, here we go again."
It's tough to keep your hitters engaged when you put them through the same monotonous guessing game every pitch, waiting for you to figure out how to keep the game moving at a decently consistent pace - talk about putting people to sleep.
It's simple: rested hitters are good hitters. Your hitters will produce more when they are in the shade sitting down with a cup of water in their hand. Usually the team that stays in the dugout the most wins, simply because they are the less fatigued team.
Throw strikes, work quick, and get your guys back to a low level of stress and watch them have fun at the dish, barreling balls all over the yard.
Baseball is a game of momentum.
Think about it. Your team just scored 2 runs in the top of the first, and they're looking to get back into the dugout to score a couple more.
Then you walk the leadoff hitter.
The next hitter becomes a stressful at-bat, as you now have to worry about the speedy guy on first base. With your attention on the guy in the box and half your attention at first, you don't execute your pitches and you leave one over the middle of the plate. On the 6th pitch of the at-bat, the hitter gets his mistake and lines it into right field for a single. Runners on first and second, no outs.
Momentum is vital, but can be easily lost. If you lift your foot off the gas for one second, the other team will be ready to take advantage. If you want you hitters to hit, then get them off the field.