Welcome to the fifth episode in my series, The Show Training 101, where we’ll take an in-depth look at various mechanics and control schemes, analyze how they’re implemented in MLB 15 The Show, and explore the ways in which you can leverage your newfound knowledge to take your game to the next level.
Today, we’ll be taking a look at meter pitching. So what exactly is meter pitching? Well, it’s a simple timing based mechanic that governs pitch velocity, break, and accuracy. First, select your pitch. Then choose your target location with the left stick. During the pitcher’s windup, a pitching meter will appear, after which a white marker will rise and fall in accordance with the pitcher’s delivery. Hold the X button as the marker ascends towards the top of the meter, and simply let go to select the power of the pitch. The closer the pitch marker is to the far edge of the meter, the more effective the pitch will be. When maximizing the meter’s power while throwing a fastball, your pitch will be given a boost to velocity and effectiveness. The same is also true when throwing an off-speed pitch, except in this case, your pitch will be supplied a bonus to ball movement and effectiveness instead of velocity. So this raises the question; why wouldn’t you always hold down the X button as the pitch marker contacts the tail-end of the meter in order to maximize your pitch’s effectiveness? That’s a great question. The answer? Well, a maxed-out pitch will be offset by a slight reduction to pitch accuracy and a slight increase to pitcher fatigue. If you wish to retain more accuracy at the expense of decreased velocity or break, simply let go of the X button before the marker reaches the top of the pitch meter. It’s a simple game of risk vs. reward. So, increase your pitch’s power at your own peril.
Ok. After selecting the power of the pitch, the white marker will descend back towards the yellow bar situated at the head of the pitch meter. The yellow bar represents the accuracy of the pitch; press the X button once again as the white marker aligns with the yellow bar to ensure the most accurate pitch. The amount by which which the white marker lands wide of the yellow bar determines the degree of inaccuracy on the pitch. More specifically, the placement of the white marker in relation to the yellow bar governs the direction and distance of the displacement between the final landing spot versus the intended pitch location. That’s a little confusing. So let me clarify. If you press X too late and miss the light blue zone entirely, the pitcher will release his pitch too late in an overthrow and possibly land the pitch in the dirt. If you press X too early, the pitcher will release his pitch too early in an under-throw and land the pitch too high. Conversely, in year’s prior, sidearm pitchers would overthrow and under-throw on a horizontal axis. However, this effect is heavily reduced in this year’s version, so much so that a sidearmer’s pitching meter now primarily dictates vertical pitch dispersion over horizontal pitch dispersion. It’s an interesting, if not minor change, but one that’s worth noting. Now one last thing. To simulate the increased difficulty of throwing a breaking pitch vs. a fastball, the penalty for mis-timing the pitch meter is greater for breaking pitches and more forgiving for fastballs.
Alright. So now that we have a better understanding of the mechanic, how do we master it? Well, our so-called mastering will stem from our newfound knowledge of the interface rather than some contrived utilization of the controller. As mentioned earlier, the selected power of a pitch contains an inverse relationship between effectiveness and accuracy. So let’s use this to our advantage. We don’t want to overexert our starting pitcher in the early innings; otherwise, fatigue will force us to go to the bullpen earlier than we’d like. That’s never a good thing. Instead, it’s important to maximize pitch effectiveness sparingly, only when the situation presents itself. At the beginning of an at-bat, or when behind in the count, control is essential so as to ensure that your pitches land in the strike zone. In such situations, we can ill afford to get behind in the count or walk the batter, and as such, accuracy is at a premium. So just take a little something off your pitches by releasing the X button before the pitch marker fills the meter. Instead, save the extra heat or movement for when the batter has two strikes or is behind in the count. The increased effectiveness of a power-maximized pitch will increase our odds of preventing solid contact, or better yet, that additional velocity and/or movement may be just enough to strike the batter out. The perfect outcome.
So that’s all for this week. Remember, a timing based interface such as meter pitching depends on good timing to be successful. And good timing is dependent on lots of practice and the muscle memory gained from said practice. So simply put, practice a lot. But of course, there’s another component that is less dependent on timing and more dependent on user choice. The ability to govern the power of the pitch provides a strategic element to the mechanic that must be fully understood before it can be utilized to one’s advantage. Many members of The Show community incorrectly assume that the X button must be held throughout the duration of the pitch windup, but as we’ve learned today, this is not the case. So take advantage of the mechanic through your understanding of it, out-smart your opponent, and only put the extra “oomph” on the pitch when the situation strikes. Your pitcher’s arm will thank you for it.
Meter pitching. Select your power. But choose it wisely. Simple.
Be sure to check out my other MLB 15 The Show Guides here: