12:52 PM - April 23, 2014 by MMChrisS
Pitch counts in baseball are one of the most basic tenants of the game, but also one of the least understood amongst casual and novice fans. When it comes to playing MLB 14 The Show, you will be facing an AI opponent which understands the count and how to work it both from a pitching and hitting perspective.
Here are some basic ways to approach the pitch count in an at-bat:
- 0-0: The first pitch in an at-bat is incredibly important. Pitchers want to throw first pitch strikes, so it is likely a pitcher who is on his game will get you something over the plate -- but that doesn't mean it will necessarily be hittable. Depending on how the pitchers overall pitch count is evolving, you may need to take a pitch or two just to ensure the starter has to work a bit, especially if he's an ace and getting to the bullpen is an advantageous strategy.
- 0-1, 1-2, and 0-2: You are against the wall as a hitter in both counts. The pitcher will be less apt to throw you a strike over the plate when he is ahead of you -- the reason being is that you don't want to give a hitter something to drive when you have the advantage. Good hitters will be protecting the plate and more willing to swing at close pitches. Pitching wise, there's no better place to be.
- 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, and 3-1: If you are a pitcher and behind in the count, you will have to throw a strike. As a hitter, this means the pitcher will be desperate to throw something he can ensure gets more of the plate, especially if you find yourself in a very advantageous count such as 2-0 or 3-1. A 2-0 fastball is a classic pitch to drive. Pitching wise, try to ensure you throw a strike -- but try to always mix it up on these counts to ensure hitters can't guess your rhythm and send your pitch on a long flight.
- 3-0: Almost certainly, this is a count that the hitter is going to take and the pitcher is going to do everything to get a pitch over. While you are likely to see a pitch over the plate, it is a waste of a good at bad if you ground out or fly out at 3-0.
- 1-1, 2-2: These are the counts you really don't have a good feel for either way. Pitchers can choose to give you something over the plate or try to cut corners, meanwhile hitters will be looking to hit anything which is getting a lot of the plate.
- 3-2: This is a count you should expect a strike, but if a pitcher is struggling or tiring you aren't guaranteed one. With two outs, you always send your runners on 3-2. From a pitching perspective, I try to avoid throwing something over the plate but if there are base-runners on, you have to avoid walking players as much as possible.
What approaches do you use to work the count both as a pitcher and hitter?