Are you struggling shutting down hitters online?  The answer to this….is probably not.  Online Baseball has always favored the pitching, because to most people hitting is always the most difficult thing.  On the other hand, you will face a good hitter every now and then.  This is when you have the opportunity to separate yourself from the good pitchers from the great. Do not think for a moment that your 2.50 ERA is good enough?  You can always get better, checkout the video below and article below!

The AI is a bit of a different story though.  The AI is a little bit more random to pitch to, but there are certain tactics you can use to improve your game and lower that ERA.  These tips will be for both online and offline, once again.

  1. Establish your fastball! Online or offline the fastball is the most important pitch. It sets up everything.  Whether it is a high fastball setting up the curve, low fastball setting up the change, or inside/outside fastball setting up a slider/slurve it is essential you show your opponent your fastball.
  2. Check your opponent’s feedback on each pitch, especially for online play. If you notice your opponent is late every time on a fastball then keep throwing them! If he is early on your fastball or has normal timing then throw more offspeed.  Pretty common sense stuff, right?

The feedback for the PCI placement is off for online play, but it also shows you their contact feedback.  Sometimes it may say under, over, outside or inside.  Pay attention to this!  If you throw a slider low and away (righty on righty) and your opponent’s swinging time says early/inside then you know he was looking fastball.  If it says late/outside on an inside fastball then you know he was probably looking for that slider.

  1. Pick up what type of hitter your opponents are. Some guys literally never move the PCI, some use analog, some set their PCI only low, some mix it up, and some try to “track” the ball. Try to figure out early on what type of hitter they are and pitch accordingly.  The feedback and how well they hit certain pitches should tip off what kind of hitters they are early on in the game.  If they mix up their PCI placement then you will want to mix up your pitches the best you can.  If they leave it one spot then attack their weakness until they prove they can hit it.  For example, a lot of guys sit their PCI low the entire game.  Well then you should be focused on attacking the high portion of the strike zone.  Keep attacking until they change their approach.  The first inning should be the time when you try and solve what type of player your opponent is.
  2. Do not be afraid to throw high offspeed pitches! (This is for online only) If you never throw a high breaking ball then they will never swing at high fastballs. Also if you have a hard slider a long with a curve then your slider can also offset their timing when you throw both pitches high in the zone.  An example of this would be to throw a high curve that just drops in for a strike then throw a hard slider at the same spot, but this time the slider will stay higher and get on the hitter faster to mess up their timing.  High changeups can also be effective every once in a while if they have a quick bat.  Be careful when throwing these pitches, but you should try and mix them in a few times a game.

Other Key Tips

  1. Pay attention to the confidence bars! This is huge in MLB The Show. I don’t necessary agree with San Diego Studios to make it such a difference maker, but it is what it is fella’s.  There are several ways to increase, as well as decrease confidence.
  2. Use the mound visits! Seriously they are there for a reason. Once your pitcher gives up a homerun or a key hit then do a mound visit.  Remember you only get 2 mound visits per inning for each pitcher then you have to remove them on the 2nd mound visit.  Using mound visits at a crucial time can increase their overall confidence (different from individual pitch confidence) and it also allows your guys in the bullpen to warm up faster.
  3. Look at the hitters’ hot/cold zones and their spray charts. This probably is more applicable for offline, but it can work online as well. SDS did confirm that hot/cold zones can matter as they a marginal increase/decrease to the hitters’ overall hitting attributes.  This means it is probably less than a 5% change, but that can be the difference between a long fly out and a homerun.  Attack the cold zones offline.  Online don’t get predictable with attacking them, but keep them in mind.

Spray Charts is something that people probably pay no attention to.  If you hit the middle button on the PS4 you can look at the hitter’s spray chart and tendencies.  If you see they are a dead pull hitter with 50% pull tendencies then pitch away!  You will see very few push hitters, but there are quite a few of balanced hitters.  If you see either one of these hitters then try to jam them inside.  Again, this is more of an offline approach, but it can impact online as well.  For example, every time I face the Jays online/offline and they have Bautista/Encarnacion batting back to back I throw cutters/sliders away.  It works quite well.  The game implements a reward system for when you time the pitch according to your spray charts and it will also punish them a bit for trying to do the opposite.  This means that a hitter like Bautista will not have nearly as much power when he tries to hit it opposite field.  Take advantage of it.

This brings me to my next point…….

  1. Pitch to the Shifts! The CPU automatically shifts for the left handed dead pull hitters. This will contradict what I said previously, but if you want to take advantage of the shifts (you can turn auto shifts off in the gameplay settings) then pitch inside to these hitters.  I know Ortiz, Mccan, Teixeira, Lind, and Fielder are dead pull hitters where your fielders automatically implement a shift.  Whether it is online or offline, pitch soft inside.  If you don’t feel comfortable doing so then turn the shifts off.  If you want to do the same to right handed hitters then you can implement the same shifts manually!  This can definitely add some innovation your game online/offline and get into your opponents head.
  2. Use the Warm up feature. This allows you to get your confidence up with individual pitches. You can turn it off and on in the settings.  It will always be turned off for online play.  I highly recommend to use it for offline though.  It allows you to get your individual pitch confidence up.

Anyways I hope this MLB The Show Pitching Tutorial helped! Please like the article and video if you enjoyed the content.  I plan to make more guides and tip videos when MLB 15 comes out, so make sure you are following me on twitter @Cardinalbird5 or watching me live on twitch and you can always find me here at Sports Gamers Online….the #1 Source for the Sports Gamer.

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Cardinalbird5
Derek is a 27 year old that has been a sports gaming enthusiast since his early age. He has played sports games since he was age 5, going from RBI Baseball on the NES to MVP Baseball 2005 on the Xbox and now to MLB The Show on PS3/PS4. He plays MLB The Show competitively and has been ranked in the top 10 the past three years, as well as winning multiple challenges of the week. Derek strides to play sim, innovative, and implement real life baseball tactics that you see in the game today. He is also a huge St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Dolphins fan.