HITTING A CURVEBALL WITH Matt Holliday

ROCKIES LEFTFIELDER
August 12, 2007

How he hits 'em
"If I see a curveball out of the pitcher's hand early enough, I plant my [front] foot and wait. A lot of guys see the curve and freeze. I want to be able to see it, so I can swing at it."

Where to hit 'em
"Pull gap, centerfield, opposite-field gap—through the middle. You can stay on curveballs much better that way than if you're coming off the ball. Don't try to pull it."

Rules of preparation
Holliday will hit off a pitching machine set to throw curves, but at the plate, he says, "you [expect] the fastball. [Then] if you recognize the curve, hold your ground and swing. Don't take it."

Who's got the best?
"[Giants rookie righthander] Tim Lincecum has a really good one. A lot of curveballs come out of the pitcher's hand and go up. His comes out flat, then [goes] straight down." What about the famously lethal deuce thrown by Lincecum's teammate, southpaw Barry Zito? "It looks like it's in the [lefthanded hitter's] batter's box," says Holliday. "Then it comes back over. You can't give up on it."

PHOTOJASON WISE (HOLLIDAY ACTION) PHOTOPHIL ELLSWORTH (HOLLIDAY HEADSHOT) PHOTO

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)