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What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

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What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

Postby kaiser » Sun Apr 20, 2008 3:16 pm

"Pitch to contact."

I've been watching baseball for a long time, but this is a new term to me. I keep hearing announcers use it this season. Have I just missed it in the past, or is this a relatively new term, and what does it mean?
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Re: What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Sun Apr 20, 2008 3:21 pm

No, it's been used for a long time to describe mediocre pitchers who can't strike batters out or to criticize pitchers who strike out "too many" batters. Some announcers try to explain their mystical ability to win by this mysterious "pitch to contact" voodoo, rather than looking at the real explanations like having a good defense behind them or just luck.
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Re: What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

Postby MTUCache » Sun Apr 20, 2008 3:36 pm

Definitely a more popular term in the last couple of seasons, as announcers and reporters keep trying to describe different pitchers "styles".

"Pitching to contact" seems to be a nice way to describe pitchers like, say, Todd Jones for example. He doesn't have any spectacular stuff, and gets relatively few strikeouts, he just seems to get hitters to either pop balls up or pound them into the ground. Ming-wang would be another extreme groundball example of this. They don't go up there with the approach of trying to strike anybody out, just to get them to hit a weak ball. Typically these guys will stay in the strikezone and try to limit their walks, but will still end up with plenty of balls in play and runners on base.

Similar terms to describe other types of pitchers would be "misses a lot of bats" or "effectively wild".

Really, none of them mean much in particular, they're just a way to describe how they manage to get hitters out. You can be a "good" pitcher using any of these styles, likewise there are plenty of horrible ones in each category as well.
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Re: What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

Postby chipper » Sun Apr 20, 2008 3:50 pm

A lot of it has to do with the philosophy of using less pitches to get through your innings, therefore lasting longer into games.
Think Roy Halladay his last few years. Of course he can go and strikeout 10 a game if he wanted to, but it seems like nowadays he intentionally pitches more to contact in order to last longer into the game.
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Re: What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

Postby MTUCache » Sun Apr 20, 2008 3:59 pm

chipper wrote:A lot of it has to do with the philosophy of using less pitches to get through your innings, therefore lasting longer into games.
Think Roy Halladay his last few years. Of course he can go and strikeout 10 a game if he wanted to, but it seems like nowadays he intentionally pitches more to contact in order to last longer into the game.


Exactly... this is supposed to be the reason (according to the Tigers' announcers) that Verlander is also changing his style up a little bit this year (not very effectively, I might add). I mentioned this is one of the several Verlander Chicken-Little topics, but don't have the energy to re-iterate it in all of them. :-b
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Re: What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:20 pm

chipper wrote:A lot of it has to do with the philosophy of using less pitches to get through your innings, therefore lasting longer into games.
Think Roy Halladay his last few years. Of course he can go and strikeout 10 a game if he wanted to, but it seems like nowadays he intentionally pitches more to contact in order to last longer into the game.



See, in my opinion, this isn't the real story. Halladay was NEVER a big strikeout pitcher and was never able to consistently go out strike out ten a game. He's always hovered between 5.5 and 7 per game an dhe had more CG in 2003 when he was striking out 7 per game than any other year.

I just don't beleive there's any particular ability to pitch to contact or, if there is, that this is a good thing.
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Re: What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

Postby kab21 » Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:26 pm

GotowarMissAgnes wrote:
chipper wrote:A lot of it has to do with the philosophy of using less pitches to get through your innings, therefore lasting longer into games.
Think Roy Halladay his last few years. Of course he can go and strikeout 10 a game if he wanted to, but it seems like nowadays he intentionally pitches more to contact in order to last longer into the game.



See, in my opinion, this isn't the real story. Halladay was NEVER a big strikeout pitcher and was never able to consistently go out strike out ten a game. He's always hovered between 5.5 and 7 per game an dhe had more CG in 2003 when he was striking out 7 per game than any other year.

I just don't beleive there's any particular ability to pitch to contact or, if there is, that this is a good thing.


How about when a pitcher has thrown 100 pitches in the 5th inning with 4 BB's (like j Sanchez today)? Sometimes pitchers try to get too perfect with their pitches.
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Re: What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

Postby MTUCache » Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:34 pm

kab21 wrote:How about when a pitcher has thrown 100 pitches in the 5th inning with 4 BB's (like j Sanchez today)? Sometimes pitchers try to get too perfect with their pitches.


As long as they're not all over the place, these guys would be referred to as "nibblers", constantly trying to nibble in on the corners of the strikezone. Some do it effectively, others end up killing themselves by forcing themselves into 2-0 fastballs right down the middle several times in a game. These guys are the most frustrating to watch, and the most dependent on which umpire is behind the plate that game.
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Re: What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

Postby kab21 » Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:40 pm

MTUCache wrote:
kab21 wrote:How about when a pitcher has thrown 100 pitches in the 5th inning with 4 BB's (like j Sanchez today)? Sometimes pitchers try to get too perfect with their pitches.


As long as they're not all over the place, these guys would be referred to as "nibblers", constantly trying to nibble in on the corners of the strikezone. Some do it effectively, others end up killing themselves by forcing themselves into 2-0 fastballs right down the middle several times in a game. These guys are the most frustrating to watch, and the most dependent on which umpire is behind the plate that game.


But shouldn't these nibblers be pitching more to contact so that they can go further into the game. Especially when they have the heat like Sanchez.
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Re: What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

Postby chipper » Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:42 pm

GotowarMissAgnes wrote:See, in my opinion, this isn't the real story. Halladay was NEVER a big strikeout pitcher and was never able to consistently go out strike out ten a game. He's always hovered between 5.5 and 7 per game an dhe had more CG in 2003 when he was striking out 7 per game than any other year.

I just don't beleive there's any particular ability to pitch to contact or, if there is, that this is a good thing.

Well perhaps Halladay is a bad example of this, but the general theory behind it still stands.
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