The Ole Ball Game

Why do lefty batters supposedly love the "down and in" pitch?

by Lou Raichle
(DeLand, Florida)

Pitch down and in

Pitch down and in

Lou asked: We constantly hear that "that pitch was down and in (or low and inside), just "where lefty batters love it."

It's never explained. Why should a lefty batter love a down and in pitch any more than a righty?

Some physical charcteristic in a lefty? NEVER EXPLAINED !! Can you?

Another "never explained" baseball quirk -- why do so many pro players leave one finger (usually the index finger) outside of the glove?

Some have said that it's to avoid bone-bruising that finger. But again -- never explained. I've played baseball a lot, and found that moving the finger outside the glove results in a very real loss of control of the glove. WHY DO IT ?

Rick answered: Lou, thank you for your question.

Sent you an e-mail today, and then located your submission. I apologize for the delay.

As you look at the images above, both the righty and lefty pics are swings on pitches down and in.

Their mechanics are almost identical to get the bat barrel to and through the hitting zone.

At one point in time, for whatever reason, many stadiums had shorter right field fences. That pitch down and in is one which a hitter, left or right, can generate a lot of power on.

As a pitcher, you wouldn't want to throw that to a right handed hitter any more than a left, if they were one of those players who hit that pitch well. Just my opinion.

Like everything in baseball, there are those hitters who kill that pitch from either side, and there are hitters who struggle with it, from either side.

Physiologically, I have never seen anything that made the point left handers were superior in that regard.

I have always kept my index finger outside of the glove. Started out that way as a kid, never changed.

Why? Don't know. Saw someone doing it I'm sure. Found that provided me additional control, it is surely a personal issue with everyone. Just like hanging the pinkie on your bottom hand over the bottom of the knob on your bat. Some like it, some don't.

I hit fungoes that way, feels to me like it provides some additional accuracy. No scientific measure for it but, just like everything else in baseball, if you believe it helps you in some capacity, it does.

I always felt that keeping my index finger out did provide some cushion for it, thus less chance to bruise it.

Hopefully your question will generate some interesting discussions and thoughts from our readers.

Again, sorry for losing track of your question.

Yours in baseball,


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May 14, 2019
It's about 1st base
by: Joel

It's because of the position of first base relative to the hitter. For a rightie, 1st base is in front of him so he can run straight ahead after he swings. But for a leftie, 1st base is behind him, meaning he has to turn his body after swinging to run to 1st. That's the only difference in the two sides of the plate. This affects the swing. There's more turn in a lefties' swing (because his next move is towards his back), which is an advantage on low inside pitches and is why they naturally pull the ball, especially low pitches.

Jan 06, 2017
Alan on low-ball hitting
by: Anonymous

Alan's comments on the superiority of lefties on the low pitch are the best I've seen.

Jun 18, 2016
Lefties are better low ball hitters
by: Alan

There is a physiological reason lefties are better low ball hitters. Left-handed people tend to have stronger non-dominant arms relative to right-handers, or are more ambidextrous, if you will. One sees this all the time, as many natural lefties can throw, bat, and swing golf clubs effectively right handed. The reverse is rarely true.

A low pitch requires power from the front (non-dominant) arm to drive with less power needed from the back (dominant) arm. High pitches require more power from the back (dominant) arm. Just go swing a bat and feel where most of the power is generated.

Therefore, since lefties tend to have stronger non-dominant arms, they are better suited to drive the low pitch.


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