We plan to cover MLB 15: The Show all week long, detailing every aspect of the game, from how to manage your team to batting for success each time you’re at the plate. Today we’re focusing on the basics of pitching and base-running, so you can perform better in both categories.
Good pitching is vital to your game, because if you lob too many fast balls over the plate, the opposing team will do a better job hitting them, and that could mean extra runs. Likewise, base-running plays a huge part as well, especially when it comes to stealing and moving that much closer to reaching home plate.
The first thing you’ll want to do with your pitcher is make sure you have the hot zones turned on. With this activated, a grid displays how well a batter performs with a ball thrown in a specific area. Red are practically danger zones, as they’re likely to get a contact hit – or more – if you throw the ball within these areas. Blue are a little more neutral, while clear may be your best bet in general.
If you prefer, you can keep catcher’s suggestions turned on. These will automatically come in play once you start the game, as they’ll make a recommendation of not only which pitch to use, but where to direct it, with an indication of a catcher’s glove on the screen. Then you simply need to direct your pitching cursor over that spot (you’ll be able to tell how close you are to an ideal throw via controller vibration) and then hit X to execute the pitch.
There are a few factors to keep in mind. First you’ll want to make sure your pitcher’s stamina is up to speed. A pitcher loses stamina the longer he stays on the mound, and if he has a particularly rough inning, he’ll find himself throwing balls like crazy, even to the point where he hits players – which results in a walk to first base. You’ll want to make sure your pitching order is properly managed, and if you need to replace someone, go ahead and do it – it’s the nature of the game, after all, especially during the playoffs.
Second, keep an eye on players that get on base. You’ll be able to see them through camera views. If you see a player stepping too far from his zone (those with a great sense of speed will do this), go ahead and try to pick them off by throwing the ball to that base. Most of the time they’ll make it back safe, but occasionally you’ll run into an error-prone player who is an easy out.
Remember, be confident in your pitches, don’t be afraid to try something new outside of the hot zones and avoid overworking a pitcher. Keep your pitchers managed and healthy, and you should have no trouble winning.
Running the Bases
Next up is base-running. With this, you’ll have players that get on base after hitting a ball to the outfield, or taking advantage of someone’s error.
When you’re at bat, you can nudge a player on base to make a move using the trigger buttons on the game pad. You’ll be able to distance them either farther or shorter to the base, depending on how confident you are.
Nudging a player for a run is a good idea, unless the ball is a pop fly and an easy out. If this is the case, they risk getting picked off, and that could result in an out. Maintain a proper distance, see where the ball ends up (and if it could be picked up by an outfielder) and then make your play for the plate.
Managing players as they make the rounds is easy, using the left analog stick to direct them to either stay on base or run for the next one. Depending where the ball is, don’t be afraid to make a play for home. Most of the time, depending on the skill of the team, you’ll be able to score the run uncontested, although you can try for a running tackle if the pitcher’s waiting with ball in hand. You may be able to jar it loose, and it’s worth the gamble if it means an extra score for you.
As for the others, don’t run too high a risk. That’s because if you get picked off on second or third, it could result in the end of the inning before your player headed for home gets there. Try to keep these players as safe as possible, and only make the run if you’re sure the ball is further enough away. If you manage this properly, you’ll be able to keep players coming to third base, and setting up scored runs with ease.
We’ll have more tips for you over the course of the week.
MLB 15: The Show is available now for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PS Vita.