Cutter (baseball)

Cutter (baseball)
An animated diagram of a cutter

In baseball, a cutter, or cut fastball, is a type of fastball which breaks slightly toward the pitcher's glove side as it reaches home plate.[1] This pitch is somewhere between a slider and a fastball, as it is usually thrown faster than a slider but with more motion than a typical fastball.[1] Some pitchers use a cutter as a way to prevent hitters from expecting their regular fastballs. A common technique used to throw a cutter is to use a four-seam fastball grip with the baseball set slightly off center in the hand. When a batter is able to hit a cutter pitch, it often results in a ground ball leading to an easy out.[citation needed]

Professional practitioners

The New York Yankees' closer Mariano Rivera, one of the foremost practitioners of the cutter,[1] made the pitch famous, though the pitch itself has been around since at least the 1950s. [2]

When the cut fastball is working correctly, mainly against opposite-handed batters (e.g., a right-handed pitcher facing a left-handed hitter), the pitch can crack and split a hitter's bat, hence the pitch's occasional nickname of "the buzzsaw." Ryan Klesko, then of the Atlanta Braves, broke three bats in a single plate appearance during the 1999 World Series while facing Mariano Rivera. A few switch hitters have even been known to bat right-handed against the right-handed Rivera (the "wrong" side; switch hitters generally bat from the side of home plate opposite to the pitcher's throwing hand).[3][4]

Braves third baseman Chipper Jones attributed the increased dominance of pitchers from 2010-2011 to a more prolific use of the pitch, as did Cleveland Indians pitcher Chris Perez. [5][6] In 2010, Roy Halladay threw a cutter 34.2% of the time, the highest rate among major league starters.[7]

References

External link


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