Do you ever notice how whenever Roger Clemens pitches for the Astros, they score little or no runs against him? I know exactly how he feels. Of course, his $22M paycheck helps it be less painful, I’m sure.
Fastpitch, at it’s highest level, is a low scoring game. It’s not very often that 2 of the top teams playing will result in a mercy rule game. It does happen on occassion but, that’s not the norm. But, my team has the hardest time scoring runs when I pitch. It’s almost comical. In fact, the running joke on the team is “You throw shutouts and we’ll tie them!”
I’m not sure where it is but, there is a line there that separates the mentality of a pitcher from these 2 thoughts: 1. I need to throw my best to keep my team in the game. And #2. it doesn’t matter how well I pitch, we are not going to score anyway. Personally, I don’t know where that line is. It’s easy for anyone to say that thought #2 is flat out wrong and anyone who believes that is a quitter. It’s not true. They don’t understand. Wanting to win is what drives many people. Ultimately, all people remember are wins and losses. The majority doesn’t care that it was a close game, most people just want to know who won, who lost.
The only solice in this is keeping the head up that those who know and understand the game can tell the difference. And you as a pitcher can tell the difference. It’s not as if teammates are striking out on purpose and don’t want to score runs. On the contrary. But, that sometimes doesn’t cushion the blow of a 1-0 defeat.
On top of all of this, most pitchers like batting. Yet, the higher one goes in their career, the less likely they are to get to bat. Hardly seems fair, huh? And it cuts like a knife to see the DH struck out for the 3rd time with runners in scoring position during the 7th inning.
So what’s the solution? Well, there isn’t one. It takes self control and discipline to keep one’s chin up. While it doesn’t seem like it at the time, even a 1 run loss is a great game. It may take a few years but, eventually I can look back and smile.. remembering a good game. Of course, if I was batting, we’d win on my Homerun but that’s another blog topic.