Chicago Cubs: The First Pitch
So we know this pitch is the most debated in baseball but what are the batter’s view and the pitcher’s view of this pitch? Understanding what each is trying to make happen could be the key to swinging or sitting.
The batter is, of course, pumped up and wants to hit and so back in the 80’s a new term became popular in baseball to explain this enthusiasm, called “ambush hitting.” This is when the hitter shows no fear and swings hard like he’s going for a dinger on the very first-pitch thrown. So one of the rules of the first-pitch is:
if you’re going to swing, swing hard.
Now we’re only talking about the swing and not the ball. Los Angeles Angels hitter Mike Trout gets so many hits because he waits for the ball to be in his hitting zone, you could also say the same for Los Angeles Dodger Cody Bellinger and even Chicago Cub second baseman Daniel Descalso. The ball cannot be high, low, in or out of the zone. If the batter is considering swinging, the ball can only be in a perfect position or leave it. So another rule of the first-pitch is:
It must be in the zone if you’re going to swing.
Another huge consideration is the log of the game. How many outs are there? What inning are we in? How many pitches has the pitcher thrown? What’s the score? Are there batters on base? What hitter am I in the lineup? What has he been throwing on first-pitches and how effective have they been? A batter with this type of knowledge has an advantage in determining how enthusiastically he wants to approach the first-pitch. A pitcher who is at the end of his string with a fastball that has steadily declined throughout the game may not have the power to deliver a well-placed hitting strike. However, if that pitcher consistently tried to throw the fastball on the first-pitch, you may be in for a treat! Again, it should be in your zone and swing hard!