Thursday, January 19, 2012

Things to Know About Baseball Strikeout

Pitchers love it and batters hate it. The strikeout is a definitive victory for the pitcher over a batter in baseball. When the batter comes to the plate, his goal is to get on base by hitting the ball hard. The pitcher wants nothing more than to send the batter back to the bench with a strikeout by having him swing and miss at three pitches.
Swing And Miss
A batter comes to home plate, takes his stance in the batter's box and gets three attempts to hit the ball. If he swings and misses at the third strike, he is out on strikes and must go back to the bench. This is known as a swinging strikeout. A batter may be overpowered by a hard fastball, fooled by a curveball that breaks down and away or miss-time a change-up that comes in slower than expected.
Called Third Strike
The umpire aligns himself behind the catcher and calls all pitches that the hitter does not swing the bat at. If the baseball is over any part of home plate and it is between the letters on the batter's uniform and the top of his knees, the umpire calls the pitch a strike. If the pitch does not fall within those parameters, the umpire calls a ball. If a batter fails to swing at a pitch in the strike zone when there are two strikes, the umpire calls strike three. This is known as a called strike out.
Reaching First On Strike Three
In most cases, the batter must return to the bench after swinging and missing at strike three or taking a called third strike. However, if first base is not occupied by a base runner, the batter can reach base after striking out if the catcher does not receive the ball cleanly. A pitcher may throw a hard slider or curveball with two strikes. As the ball dives out of the strike zone, the batter swings and misses for strike three. However, the pitch has so much movement that the catcher can't hold on to the ball and it gets away from him. An alert batter will take off for first base. If the catcher can't pick up the ball and tag the batter or throw it to first before the batter gets there, the batter is safe at first and no out is recorded.
Top Strikeout Pitchers
Nolan Ryan is baseball's all-time leading strikeout pitcher. He struck out 5,714 batters during a 27-year Hall of Fame career. Ryan was best known for his overpowering fastball and throwing seven no-hitters during his career. Randy Johnson struck out 4,875 batters during his 22-year career. His slider was his primary strikeout pitch. Roger Clemens, Steve Carlton and Bert Blyleven follow Ryan and Johnson on the all-time Major League Baseball strikeout list.

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