Please note: There is a bit of a rant before I get to my suggestions on how to fix pitching.
I have to say, pitching in this game is absolutely driving me nuts right now. It seems that I have two options: miss off the corner, or throw it right down the middle. Um no. Not acceptable. I played a game earlier today in which my opponent was just selling out for a fastball every time. So what did I do? I threw off-speed pitches. Mind you, I was trying to throw these for strikes because I knew he would wave right through them. Lo and behold, the game just wouldn't let me throw them for strikes. Every pitch...low...or just outside. Every time...my opponent was allowed to check swing. So what did I do? I thought...well ok...I'll just aim a little higher if they are going to keep diving out of the zone. Nope...right down the middle. I mean...come on SDS...I identified my opponent's weakness two pitches into the game...and the way the game is programmed wouldn't allow me to take advantage of that weakness. That's not acceptable in what is supposed to be a competitive online experience. At any rate, I digress. Pitching is terrible. I mean...like...I don't even want to pick up the controller and play bad (I'll still play...but the pitching is baaaaad). Now to my suggestions:
- I don't think control needs to be improved (much) because guys like Eckersley can usually hit their spots.
- Reduce check swing success. It's still a problem. It has been for years. Please fix it. If you're fooled to the point that you think a breaking ball is a fastball, you lost...you were fooled...you were beat...let it happen. Stop bailing players out (myself included... I have no problem taking an "L" if I deserve it).
- Reduce the number of foul offs in an at bat. It makes absolutely zero sense that being way under or way over the ball results in 12 foul offs an at bat. No player should have to beat their opponent 12 times in one at bat to record an out. Making this change would also reduce the number of "cookies" that are inevitably served up.
- This might be an unpopular one...but **bring back variable umps. You got rid of variable umps because that's what the community wanted, but ultimately there needs to be a little uncertainty as to whether or not a pitch is a ball or a strike. If it's close, you need to be swinging. That's baseball. And I would honestly prefer having the occasional bad call go against me than this abomination.
The game has gotten to the point that players know they are going to get a pitch down the middle, so they just wait for it (or foul everything off with crappy swings until they get it)...and we are only one week in...it's only going to get worse...and the game is going to become unplayable for most. Baseball is about making adjustments at the plate...not waiting for the AI to serve you up a meatball that you know is coming at some point.