Pitching From The Stretch

By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro

Pitching from the stretch is a little different than pitching from the wind-up. Pitchers must make sure to practice it often.

When there are runners on base and you're pitching out of the stretch, you should hold the ball in your throwing hand, while choosing the same grip every time so as not give it away to the hitter.

The pitcher should come to a stop with his hands between the chest and the chin, so he doesn't bring his hands up when he starts his motion.

Bouncing the hands in this manner is a common fault which causes the pitcher to not get the ball out of the glove and up to the cocked position quickly enough. This is an important point of emphasis.

Next, the front leg should pivot back towards the thigh of the back leg, thus displacing weight onto the back leg, providing the first balance point.

Also, pitchers should remain in the stretch with runners on third with less than two outs, as well as with the bases loaded with a 3-2 count and two outs, unless it will upset the pitcher's rhythm.

Using a slide-step when pitching from the stretch?

The slide-step can be effective in stopping runners from stealing, but it too often causes the pitcher to rush out and not get his throwing hand to the cocked position on time. The result is a loss of control and/or speed.

Therefore, pitchers should not really use the slide-step pitching motion unless they occasionally want to deceive a base-stealing threat.


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