Terrific analysis of pitcher-hitter mindgames by Joe Posnanski.
So, when you see a guy who gets a lot of curveballs — say Aaron Rowand
— that is not because he can’t hit a good curveball. It’s because
pitchers believe he can’t hit a mediocre curveball. It’s a great game.
The pitcher knows Rowand isn’t very good on breaking stuff. Rowand
knows the pitcher knows this and comes to the plate expecting to see
breaking stuff. The pitcher knows that Rowand knows that the pitcher
knows, so he is on alert that if he throws a hanging curveball, Rowand
might just crush it. But Rowand knows this, so he might be overanxious
if he sees the hanging curveball and hit it nine miles foul. Or he
might be thinking curveball so much that he promises himself to not
wing, and the pitcher might cross him up and throw fastball — even
Aaron Rowand got more than 50% fastballs last year — and Rowand is so
screwed up in his head that he just watches it go by for strike three
and … yeah, it’s a great game.
Yeah, it is.