Thursday, May 12, 2011
My Pitch Series: The Slider
The next entry in the "My Pitch Series" is the slider. I started throwing the slider out of the blue before one start a couple years ago when I felt my changeup (which will be featured at a later time) lacked movement and was pretty much stale. The typical slider is held like a conventional curveball but instead of coming directly over the top with the ball to get forward rotation you attempt to get a clockwise rotation on the ball. The best way to describe its release is to think about either throwing a football with a perfect spiral or turning a doorknob with your thumb, index, and middle fingers.
This pitch is perfect to use against those fastball happy teams. The pitch moves enough to miss the sweet spot of the bat and can also be used as a strikeout pitch throwing it away to a righty batter (as a righty pitcher) and getting them to chase it or by throwing it inside and catching the black of the plate. Personally I use it to induce weak grounders from the righty batters and as a strikeout pitch to lefties trying to backdoor the pitch on them.
Some of the great all-time slider throwers include: Steve Carlton, Randy Johnson, Sparky Lyle, Ron Guidry, and Jeff Nelson. Guys like Johnson and Nelson used big sweeping sliders to strike guys out while guys like Lyle and Guidry had more drop to their pitch which made them dominant.