In baseball, an immaculate inning is when a pitcher strikes out all three batters he faced in one inning, using only nine pitches. An immaculate inning is very rare; as of 2019, there have only been 43 recorded cases in MLB history. Let’s take a look at what it takes to achieve this pitching feat.
The key to throwing an immaculate inning is to have good pitching mechanics. This means having a consistent pitching motion and release point, and being able to repeat your delivery over and over again. Many professional pitchers spend hours practicing their mechanics in the offseason so that they can be as precise as possible come game time.
Another important factor in throwing an immaculate inning is having a good mix of pitches. A pitcher needs to be able to throw fastballs, curveballs, sliders, and changeups for strikes. The best way to set up hitters is to keep them guessing by mixing up the speeds and locations of your pitches. This way, they won’t be able to tell what’s coming and they’ll be more likely to swing and miss.
Of course, no matter how perfect a pitcher’s mechanics or pitch selection may be, sometimes it comes down to plain old luck. Sometimes a hitter will swing at a pitch that was outside the strike zone, or they’ll hit a weak fly ball that happens to find its way into an outfielder’s glove. Whatever the case may be, luck always has a role to play in baseball.
Throwing an immaculate inning is one of the rarest feats in baseball. It requires a perfect storm of good pitching mechanics, pitch selection, and luck. Out of the thousands of pitchers who have thrown innings in MLB history, only 43 have ever achieved this distinction. So the next time you’re watching a game and you see a pitcher retire the side on just nine pitches, take a moment to appreciate how special it truly is.