Strikes are an important part of baseball, as they limit the batter's chances to hit the ball and demonstrate the skill of the pitcher. All pitches in baseball result in either a strike, ball, or a foul for the batter. It's all based on the where the pitch ends up in the strike zone and how the batter reacts to the pitch.
- Any pitch that ends up in the batter's strike zone and is not hit by the batter.
- Any time the batter attempts to hit the baseball but misses. This is called a swing and miss and is an automatic strike regardless of where the pitch ended up in the strike zone or not.
- If a foul is called and the batter has less than two (2) strikes.
- The pitch is in the strike zone and touches the batter.
A foul ball is a hit baseball that lands in foul territory, outside the foul lines. Additionally, if the baseball is hit and initially bounces in fair territory between home plate and the bases, then bounces into foul territory before crossing a base, it is considered a foul ball.
IMPORTANT: A foul ball is considered a strike only under certain circumstances. If the batter has less than two (2) strikes and hits a foul ball, it counts as a strike. If the batter has two (2) strikes and hits a foul ball, it does not count as the third strike; it is considered a dead ball and the strike count remains the same.
A strike will be called on a foul tip. A foul tip is an uncommon occurrence, when a baseball makes contact with the bat, then goes sharply into the catcher's glove. For a strike to be called, the catcher must catch the baseball directly after the baseball hit the bat. If the baseball hits the bat then bounces on the ground before landing in the catcher's glove, it is not a foul tip.
As opposed to swinging the bat, a bunt is when a player faces the pitcher and holds the bat horizontally in front of home plate. The objective of a bunt is to tap the ball into fair territory just in front of home plate. If a bunt ends up in foul territory it's a strike for the batter.
We'll learn more about bunts in future chapters.