I was watching a Yankees game in mid-April and Mariano Rivera came in to finish the deal in the bottom of the 9th. I thought for sure it was over, but the Jays got to him for two runs, tied the game, and ended up winning the game in the 10th. I said to myself that maybe he’s getting too old for the closers role in N.Y. I was wrong it seems.
Since that night a few weeks ago I haven’t really paid much attention to him, though I stumbled across a highlight last night. I did a little research and it turns out that he’s only allowed one more run since that evening! Seriously now, the guy is turning the same age as his uniform number at the end of the season (42), and he’s still mowing down hitters.
So what is his secret?
1. He’s throwing 72% strikes this season. If you throw this many strikes with some pitching velocity and movement, you will have success.
2. Learn to keep the hitters guessing, (or have just one really great pitch). Since we all can’t throw a cut fastball like Rivera, we have to rely on our deception as a pitcher. Changing velocity, increasing movement, and hitting spots. Rivera does all of these extremely well, especially the last two since he relies on his cut fastball so much.
I guess what inspires me about Rivera is that he has been so consistent year in and year out refining his cut fastball and learning hitters weaknesses. Besides his rookie year, he’s always allowed fewer hits than innings pitched. While I’m not suggesting The Pitching Grips DVD can get you the movement like Rivera, it can give you a massive head start. It’s over an hour and a half of straight grips training. Find the right information and then bust your butt in working your craft like Rivera.
Here are some Rivera highlights. If you click on the little video clip icons where it says, “more video” you’ll see some more of his saves.