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    Pitching Guide by Inks71

    Updated: 05/07/02 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    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)
    
    

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