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When and when NOT to throw a breaking ball

    Hey guys.  I wanted to put together a quick blog that would highlight some of the times when it would be best to use your breaking ball, and a few where it would be best to stick with your fastball.  Try to remember that the last thing a pitcher wants to be is predictable, so continue working on mastering your command of two or more pitches.

When to use a breaking ball

1. When the hitter pulls his head away from the ball
2. Any time the hitter is looking for a fastball (for instance, on the first pitch or on a count of 2-0, 2-1, or 1-0)
3. When a left-handed hitter who hits the ball to the opposite field is up to bat, because breaking balls will make him pull the ball
4. Right after a previous breaking ball, because many hitters guess fastball after a breaking ball, making three of four breaking balls in a row effective sometimes

When NOT to use a breaking ball

1. When the hitter is outmatched by the fastball (unless the breaking ball is throw as an intentional ball)
2. When the hitter has a slow bat and is looking for off-speed pitches (unless the breaking ball is thrown as an intentional ball)
3. When the runner at first base is stealing, because a fastball gives the catcher a better chance to throw him out (although sometimes a steal is inevitable and a breaking ball must be thrown)
4. To a left-handed hitter with no outs and a man on second base, because the batter will pull the ball

    The pitcher who has command of two, three, or even four pitches is at a great advantage.  Imagine the hitter's dilemma when he knows that the pitcher can throw any of his pitches in any situation.  More choices means that the hitter has more to think about, and decisions take time.  The more decisions the hitter has to make, the greater the chance that he will fail.  To all my fellow pitchers out there, work on it!

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