All Star Baseball 2003 Pitching Tips
System: PS2
Author: Inks71 (email: delfjac@yahoo.com web:www.highaims.com)
First Release Date: March 5, 2002
Copyright 2002 Inks71. Please do not duplicate or post without permission.
 (currently this faq appears in gamefaqs.com and neoseeker.com)

--------------
Update History
--------------
March 5, 2002 -- First release
March 6, 2002 -- Correct some errors; reformat the guide to be more
                 readable; add results of my latest games; add more information 
                 about freezing the batter on a called third strike; and
                 relievers' stamina
May 5, 2002   -- Minor corrections, including correction of a quote



------------
Introduction
------------
I've noticed that a lot of people on the board are having problems with 
pitching. They seem to give up way too many runs and too many homeruns. I had 
this problem at first, but systematically, I've improved. And now I generally 
can contain the opposition to less than 4 runs and give up less than 3 homeruns 
per game, usually just one or none. I hope this guide can be of any use to 
people who are having pitching problems out there.



----------
Disclaimer
----------
I did not try out every pitcher in every ballpark against every team on every 
difficulty level. So the strategy I developed only derived from my limited 
experience. I don't claim that the tips listed here will work for you, but I 
hope they will. 



---------------------------------------
My ASB 2003 Experience (as of 3/6/2002)
---------------------------------------
-I play on Veteran level with fielding assist (to cut down some stupid and
 frustrating defensive mistakes), defensive alignment auto, baseleading auto,
 and easy batting off.

-I use my own expansion team (Hartford Hogs), and my starting pitchers are:
  A.J Burnett
  Rick Ankiel
  John Halama
  Kip Wells
  A Created Pitcher (Righty, 2-Seam Fast A, Slurve B, K Curve C, Change Up A-)

-I have Britt Reames, Jay Powell, Octavio Dotel, Shigetoshi Hasegawa(CP) and   
 two rookie pitchers (lefties) in my bullpen. (These 2 rookie pitchers I have 
 are horrible. They don't hit their targets well. They are always out of 
 stamina. And they give up most runs. I'm getting rid of them soon).

-A.J Burnett, Rick Ankiel, and the Custom Pitcher all have recorded one complete 
 game.

-Teams I've played against are:
   Red Sox      opening game, I won 4-3, beginner's luck
   Rangers      got swept 3 games, very bad. I know what's like to give up too 
                many HRs
   Mariners     won 2-1 series, still giving up quite a bit of HRs at this 
                stage
   Devil Rays   I abused them. In two 3-game series, I won 5-1 and scored a
                bunch on them. Here's where I started to develop my pitching by
                trying out my theories on these poor players. Apology to TB 
                fans
   Orioles      swept them, all low scoring close games
   Blue Jays    Had a surprising 20-15 blowout lost, gave up 7 HRs and hit 6
                HRs in that game. The other 2 in the series were close. Won the 
                series 2-1.(They shouldn't have scored 20 runs on me. It's just 
                that after a certain point, you don't care anymore and leave 
                your rookie pitcher out there to be butchered. I was down 12-0 
                in the 4th. Had I known I was going to come back with 15 runs, I  
                would have been more careful with my pitching) 
   Yankees      An awesome 4-game series.
                First Game: 10-2 victory and I threw 10 strikeouts. 
                Second Game: 3-2 victory against Roger Clemens. Gave up 2 solo
                     HRs. One to Bernie Williams was a big mistake pitch, Change
                     Up down the pipe. The HR given up to Posada was a good 
                     pitch, Fastball low and away. However, Posada had a great 
                     day. He went 3 for 4, 2 doubles and one HR. His 4th At Bat
                     was a flyout caught at the warning track. Phew!
                Third Game: 6-5 lost to Mussina and the gang. A 11-inning game. 
                     I should've won if not for some stupid running mistakes.
                     Come to think of it. There should be an FAQ dealing with 
                     the quirky baserunning controls of ASB 2003. 
                Fourth Game: 3-2 lost to Pettitte. Great game. Gave up one HR.

                (I was not sure if containing Devil Rays and Orioles was the
                 result of good pitching or their poor hitting. But when I 
                 pitched well against the Yankees, that's when I knew that my 
                 pitching techniques in ASB was not too bad.
                 My team ERA against the Yankees was 3.08. Not spectacular, but                
                 not too bad either, considering I didn't have stellar pitchers 
                 and had a shaky bullpen. I believe that any team would be happy 
                 to have an ERA of 3.08 against the Yankees in real life.)

-Three of my pitchers were in the top 10 for strikeouts (2 now, 3/6/02)

-I've used most of the pitches in the game. The pitches I haven't pitched with
 are C Change, Knuckleball, K Change since none of my pitchers use them

-I also played quite a few Exhibition games 



OK, on to the business


----------------
Pitch Categories
----------------
The game divides all pitches into 3 different categories:

  Fastball
  Hard Break
  Off Speed

This information is from the pitch history screen (R3, then Circle). 
Understanding them makes a big difference for your game both in pitching and 
batting.

Fastball category includes 4 seam, 2 seam and cutter.
Off Speed pitches are obviously Changeup and C Change.
Now, it's harder to tell for the other pitches. Sometimes the game registers a 
curve as an off Speed and sometimes as a Hard Break. It depends on how much 
movement the pitch has. Some pitcher's curve has a lot of movement (i.e. where 
you aim and where the ball ends up are very far apart)

To tell whether your pitcher's curve is counted as an Off Speed or a Hard Break, 
throw a curve, then go to the pitch history screen to see which of the pitch 
percentage goes up. Same goes with Slider, Slurve, K Curve, Sinker, etc. They 
can be in either category.

IMPORTANT: If your pitcher's curve is considered an Off Speed pitch rather than 
a Hard Break, IT WILL NEVER CHANGE TO A HARD BREAK IN HIS LIFETIME.

Now, what's so important about knowing these categories? The "mixing up" that 
people mentioned on the board refers to mixing up in these categories, not just 
throwing different pitches. Throwing a cutter after a 2-seam after a 4-seam is 
not much of a mixing up (some, but not much)



----------------
Aiming the Pitch
----------------

First, you have to get use to the idea that where you place your pitching cursor 
is not necessarily where the ball will end up. Every pitch has a certain 
movement. And even the same kind of pitch differs between pitchers. However, the 
amount and direction of the movement stay pretty consistent for the same pitcher 
at the beginning of the game. Be familiar with each pitch's movement early on in 
the game, and in the season, it's crucial.

For example, if your pitcher's 2 seam fastball drops about 1 ball-cursor and 
moves 1 ball-cursor to the left, you can expect this pitch to behave pretty much 
the same way for the first 5 innings (that's if your pitcher is not too tired). 
And you can expect the movement of this pitch to remain the same for his next 
outings. Again, that's if he's not tired, injured, or having a bad day. 

Let's say your Slurve drops 3 ball-cursor and move 3 ball-cursor to the right of 
the screen. If you want to throw to the lower right corner, aim pretty much at 
the center of the strike zone (maybe 1 cursor lower). If you aim at the lower 
right corner, the pitch will be in the dirt.

(Note: I rarely move my cursor after it disappears. I think that's more for a 2-
player situation, you can't really fool the CPU like that)

IMPORTANT: Most of the homeruns result from high hanging pitches. And I suspect 
that you probably aim you fastball at one of the high corners and not realizing 
the ball drops a bit toward the plate and just becomes perfect for a homer. I 
don't aim at high corners anymore. I usually aim higher (1-3 cursors, and yes, 
the controller vibrates but it's ok. I get a lot of high called strikes and pop 
ups this way) And I don't throw high breaking balls, only high fast or high 
change.

When a pitcher gets tired, the breaking balls start to flatten out and location 
of the pitches can be a bit unpredictable. So when your pitcher is tired (and 
for some reason you still want him in the game for another inning), don't throw 
a breaking ball aiming too much in the strike zone and thinking it'll break low 
and away. If it doesn't, it's pretty much gone.


------
Timing
------
"Hitting is timing; Pitching is upsetting timing."  Warren Spahn
(provided by Justin Howick 5-5-02)

To my surprise, this approach actually works in ASB.

Then, someone once said "Location, location, location"

Combine these two, your starting pitchers can have 8+ strikeouts every game.

Here's how timing works in this game:
(Note: I haven't heard this approach mentioned on the board and it might be just 
my own hallucination, but it works for me. 3/05/2002)

I think the CPU players anticipate your pitch sometimes. If you throw a change 
up, and the batter pulls the ball, it shows that he's looking for a fastball. 
I'll be hesitant to throw him a fastball the very next pitch. If I do, I will 
throw a fastball out of the strike zone and he might bite it. Most people think 
that mixing up is one slow and one fast pitch. No, no, if the batter pulls you 
slow pitch, the next fast ball is a goner. Try a breaking ball, a changeup in a 
different location (or even the same location), or a fastball really up and in 
(you'll get a popup) or in the dirt.

The other way around is true, too. If a batter can't catch up to your fastball 
(sometimes you can just tell, sometimes the ball hit foul the other way, or 
sometimes you'll hear Steve Lyons says that the batter can't catch up), serving 
him a slower pitch afterward will be "adios se¤or pelota".

ACTUAL OCCURRENCE: In my first game against the Yankees, Jeter was at the plate, 
I threw him a fastball up and in at the corner (aiming slightly higher and to 
the right to compensate for the pitch movement), he swung late. My second pitch 
was the same, just a little bit higher and inside; he swung late again. Repeat 
the third pitch, even higher and more inside; same result. A 3-pitch swinging 
strikeout. How sweet was that!


=== How about those third called strikes ===
In real life, a batter getting caught looking is usually the result of getting a 
pitch completely different than expected in terms of speed and location. A 
simple example is when your were expecting a change up and trying not to swing 
too early, then the pitcher threw you a very fast fastball. Your bat didn't even 
have the chance to leave the shoulder and you're called strikeout. Another 
example is when you're looking for a fastball away, and trying to cheat a little 
by swinging early in order to catch up with the pitch. All of the sudden, you 
realized that the pitch is a curve coming in, (still in the strike zone though). 
You immediately halted your swing and trying very hard to adjust for the pitch. 
The result was an ugly check swing and you got called strikeout. Pulled 
abdominal muscle injury is quite common for players who try to stop their body 
torque in the mid swing. Derek Jeter actually had hurt himself this way before 
in real life.

I don't know how much of this is programmed in ASB. But here're two examples of 
my success in terms of getting that third called strike.

1. Sojo swung late at my first pitch Fastball. I gave him another fastball in a 
different location thinking that he couldn't catch up. But this time he pulled 
it down the left field foul. I realized that he could catch up with the pitch 
and I had sped up his swing. I then followed with a slow pitch. The result was a 
no swing third strike.

2. Bernie Williams swung early at my curve and pulled it foul. I didn't want to 
give him a fastball right away so I threw him a change up, but this time, he 
actually swung late and missed. Then, I followed with a fastball and froze him.

I think I throw a lot of called strikeouts. It might just be my imagination. I 
probably only get 2-3 per game or less. But, I believe if it happens enough for 
you to notice and to notice that your strategy actually works, then it's a lot.




-------------------
Using Pitch History
-------------------

Pitch History feature is what makes my life easier in ASB both in pitching and 
batting. Without it, I probably won't be able to hit anything or suppress the 
opposition.

To activate the Pitch History, hit R3 during pitch selection screen, then the 
circle (off topic tip: if you are batting and the pitch selection screen 
disappear too fast, you can first hold L2, the guess pitch function, and while 
holding L2, press R3, then circle)

Be sure not to press x after R3 while pitching, you don't want to 
unintentionally issue an intentional walk.

Now, the first thing you look for is the percentage of pitches thrown at the top 
right portion of the screen. You want to make sure that you don't throw high 
percentage of any pitch and become too predictable. (There was a game my 
opposition threw 90% fastball and 10% off speed, all I did was guess fastball 
for the rest of the game and hammered the hell out of them)

When the batter comes up for the second time, you'll have the previous at bat to 
look at. I usually have no problem if I throw the same pitch, even to the same 
location, the second time around to most batters. It's the 3rd repeat that kills 
me. If you don't check pitch history, you can very well get in to a groove/habit 
and repeating same pitches and same pitch sequence without knowing it and 
wondering why you get hammered.

The second time around is also when you check for your previous mistakes such as 
homerun pitches if any. You'll start to notice that the homerun pitches tend to 
be located at the top 1/3 of the strike zone. Sometimes you might think you 
aimed at a very low location and still gave up a HR. But when you checked the 
pitch history later, you might see that the pitch was actually a fat pitch down 
the middle. Well, your pitcher missed the target. It happens, don't get furious. 
And sometimes, the batter is just having a good day, tip your hat to him. 

Generally speaking, if I throw a good pitch at a corner and still give up a HR, 
I don't throw the same pitch at the same location again to that batter for the 
rest of the game.

Also use the Pitch History to spot any pattern. Do you always start with a 
fastball low and away? If it's not working, change it. This particular batter 
has problem with your fastball high and away? Well, keep doing that. 



----------------
Overall Strategy
----------------

=== Early Innings ===

Figure out the movements of your pitches fast. Usually this can be accomplished 
with the first batter unless he makes contact at the first pitch. Throw a 
fastball, a curve and a change and see how much they move. Use this information 
to adjust for the rest of the game (or at least for this pitcher). If you've 
played with this pitcher for a few games already, you should have remembered the 
movements by now. They don't change much unless he's having a bad day.

Once you figure out the movements, you can probably hit the corners with 
regularity. Try not to throw too many balls, you don't want to waste too many 
pitches. I throw borderline balls on 0-2 count. I usually throw strikes (still 
aiming for corners) on 1-2 count. When I have 2 ball or 3 ball count, I let them 
hit, unless the batter is Barry Bond (or any other good hitters).
   Conserve energy by letting the 8th and the 9th batters hit. Give Ray Ordonez 
something to hit (not right in the middle, of course). Don't nibble around the 
corners too much with them. Don't waste too many pitches on them, and don't get 
into bad pitch count.

=== Middle Innings ===
   Your starter is getting a little bit tired. The stamina bar is probably 
blinking by now. But he's still ok. You'll notice that he misses the corners 
more, and the breaking balls don't break as much. Compensate for that. You 
probably will have to move your targets closer to the center of the strike zone 
in order to get a strike. 
   Be ready to bring in relievers. In a close game, I start warming up my 
reliever in the 5th or 6th inning. (It's a shame that you can't check the 
opponent's stats during the game for a good lefty-right matchup)

=== Late Innings ===
   True to life, your late inning relievers and closer should come in to throw 
strikes. When they come in, treat them like starters. Go for corners and don't 
waste pitches. For low corners, you can err on the safe side by pitching a 
little towards the center of the strike zone to prevent getting in to a bad 
pitch count. But don't do that with higher corners. Be sure to use the pitch 
history and hot/cold zone for pitching decisions. The pitch history will show 
you the "Hot Zone of the Day", and in my opinion, is more useful. A batter might 
have a "low and away cold zone", but for some reason, he's already hit a homerun 
and a double in that zone today, avoid it regardless of what the hot/cold zone 
graph tells you. Oh, if you have the lead, you should know to bring in better 
defensive player, like faster outfielders. Unfortunately you can't check the 
stats during the game, but if you are playing in season, franchise, or expansion 
mode, it's you job to get to know your players at the beginning of the season.



=== Relievers and Stamina ===
A lot of people mentioned that the stamina bar drops too fast for relievers and 
sometimes for starters too. Well, I see the stamina bar more as an 
"Effectiveness" bar rather then the actual stamina, or physical energy, of a 
pitcher. A pitcher can possibly be energetic and ineffective at the same time. I 
noticed that when a pitcher gives up a run, especially a crucial run and 
especially for the relievers, the stamina bar shortens tremendously afterwards.
We've seen this a lot in real life. A fresh reliever comes in, very effective, 
strikes out a couple of batters. Then, all of the sudden, gives up a 2-run homer 
and loses the lead. After that, he completely loses his strike zone. I don't 
know if this is actually what's happening in the game. But it seems like it is 
for me.

 

---------------------------------------
Diagram and some additional information
---------------------------------------

   XXXXXXXXX          WWWWWWWW
   YYYYYYYYY          ZZZZZZZZ
      ---------------------
      |A                 B|
      |                   |
      |                   |
      |                   |
      |                   |
      |                   |
     F|                   |
   H  |    I         E    |
    G |                   |
      |C                 D|
      ---------------------

Ideally, you want your pitches to end up at A, B, C or D (That's if the red hot 
zone of the batter is not one of them)

Most pitches break down somewhat. If you want the pitch to end up in A or B, aim 
at W X Y Z region. You might feel the controller vibrating. But trust me, you'll 
get a lot of good strikes this way.

If you aim at A or B, you are asking for trouble. The pitch will end up a little 
bit lower and resulting a home run. If you give up a lot of homeruns, I suspect 
this is the primary reason.

For my righty, I aim at E for a curve ball ended up in D.

I have a pitcher whose K Curve drops from F to C and Slurve from H to C. When 
the Slurve starts to lose movement in the mid or late innings, I aim at G for C 
instead of H

Aiming fastball and change up at C and D is ok, but you might get balls instead 
of strikes. You might want to adjust a tad higher.

In the mid innings, my slightly tired pitcher might have pitches intended for C 
and D end up closer to I and E. That's ok, I don't want to get in to bad pitch 
count

In 3-0, 3-1, and 3-2 counts, if I want to give the batter something to hit, I 
often throw breaking ball or off speed around I and E rather than a fastball


Conclusion
----------
It's possible to shut down computer's offense with good pitching. I do think 
that ASB is still more HR happy than in real life. But it's a game, and HRs are 
fun. The stats of the game are overall realistic. Not giving up any HR in a game 
is still hard. I only had a few games like that and a few times, I almost threw 
a shutout (I know there're people who actually did). (May 5, 2002 had a few 
shutouts since March)

Also, I don't always stick to my formulas. After all said and done, you still 
want your pitches to be unpredictable. And at the same time, it's fun 
occasionally to challenge the hitter. For example, if you have a good lead, in 
the bottom of the 9th, Barry Bond is at the plate and no one is on base. And 
your closer is a stud. Throw a fastball down the middle and see what happens. 
You'll feel great if you blow the pitch by him. But if he homers, you know why 
you deserve a spanking. It's like sticking your head out during a boxing match 
to taunt your opponent. Of course, try not to lose the game this way.

Have Fun. And I hope this FAQ will make you ASB experience less frustrating.


That's all for now. Let me know if these tips work (or not) for you.

FAQ copyright 2002 Inks71 (delfjac@yahoo.com, www.highaims.com)