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Pitching: What Is It?

A quick guide for new fans.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Boston Red Sox
This is what they should be trying to avoid.
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball is about hitting, pitching and fielding. The 2023 Red Sox seem plainly to be far more excited about hitting and, to a lesser extent, fielding than they are about pitching.

For new fans, this begs the question: What is pitching? What is this facet of baseball that the Red Sox don’t seem to have embraced? What does it look like? And how does it help baseball teams win games?

So here’s the thing: The Red Sox actually have “pitchers.” They’re the guys who throw the ball toward the other team. You’ve heard of Chris Sale and Corey Kluber and maybe even Tanner Houck and Kutter Crawford. But what do they do, actually? So far, it’s been a lot of this:

“But Bryan,” you may wonder, “the Red Sox hit a lot of home runs too. Isn’t it the pitcher’s job to facilitate that?” Fair question, but the answer is no! The idea of pitching is to actually throw it so the batter swings the bat and does not hit the ball or watches a pitch travel through the strike zone. That’s it! Not complicated.

Incredibly, the Red Sox have had very good pitchers before. Cy Young, for whom the annual award for best pitcher in the league is named, played for the Red Sox. Roger Clemens, who won seven Cy Young Awards, also pitched for the Red Sox. Pedro Martinez, widely considered to be one of the best pitchers ever, pitched for the Red Sox. Even Sale, who you can see giving up the homer to Mountcastle, above, has pitched well for the Red Sox.

But enough words! Here is how pitching is supposed to look:

So what has changed? As far as I can tell, the Red Sox have forgotten that they are supposed to throw the ball past the other players and/or have them watch the ball go down the middle. Hopefully this blog reminds them and, if you’re a new fan, educates you on what you’ve been missing. Baseball’s so much more fun with pitching!