Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...
, a pitchout
is a ball that is intentionally thrown high and outside of the strike zone
In baseball, the strike zone is a conceptual right pentagonal prism over home plate which defines the boundaries through which a pitch must pass in order to count as a strike when the batter does not swing.-Definition:...
with the purpose of preventing a stolen base
In baseball, a stolen base occurs when a baserunner successfully advances to the next base while the pitcher is delivering the ball to home plate...
or thwarting a hit and run
A hit and run is a high risk/high reward offensive strategy used in baseball.When the offense has a baserunner on first base , the runner on first breaks for second as the pitch is thrown...
. The pitcher delivers the ball in such a manner for it to be unhittable and in a position where the catcher can quickly leap to his feet to catch it. A well-thrown pitchout will allow the catcher to receive the ball standing up as opposed to his usual squat, giving him a better line to throw to a base without the pitcher or the batter obstructing his vision or aim. Moreover, it is easier to throw a ball with more force from a standing position than it is from a squat, which is why most catchers leap to their feet when attempting to throw out a base stealer.
The pitchout is often called for when the catcher believes that an existing baserunner is likely to attempt a steal, and forms one of the two (with the pickoff
In baseball, a pickoff is an act by a pitcher or a catcher, throwing a live ball to a fielder so that the fielder can tag out a baserunner who is either leading off or about to begin stealing the next base....
) main countermeasures a pitcher can take against a potential stealer. A runner attempting to steal on a pitchout will have an extremely difficult time beating the throw to second base and almost no chance of stealing third barring a mistake by the catcher or the third baseman.
The pitchout is also used against the hit and run. As the pitch is unhittable, the runner will have to attempt a straight steal, and for the reasons described above will usually fail.
A pitchout is thrown in around the same location as an intentional ball, but differs in that a pitchout is thrown harder to give the catcher the most time to throw out the base runner. Of course, a pitchout is technically an intentional ball, but the term is not used to describe the pitchout in conversation.
List of baseball pitches