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Shuuto

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The shuuto (Japanese シュート) or shootball is a pitch commonly thrown by Japanese pitchers such as Daisuke Matsuzaka that breaks slightly down and in on right-handed batters when thrown by a right-handed pitcher, somewhat similar to a screwball, although with less break. The shuuto begins as a fastball, taking a straight path toward the plate.[citation needed] However, the pitcher has put a slight spin on the ball, such that as the ball's velocity decreases, it "rolls over" and drifts back toward the batter.[citation needed]

The shuuto is often described in English as a "reverse slider", but this is not strictly the case, as the shuuto generally has more velocity and less break than a slider. Western observers also tend to confuse the shuuto with many other types of pitches, including the two-seam fastball, the sinker, or the screwball.[citation needed] All three of these groups of pitches, in differing degrees, will move down and in towards a right handed batter when thrown by a right handed pitcher, or in the opposite manner of a curveball and a slider. The shuuto is unique because it is a faster pitch with less downward break when compared to a screwball, and has less speed but more lateral break when compared to two-seam fastballs and sinking fastballs.[citation needed]

The shuuto is often confused with the gyroball, perhaps because of a well-known article by Will Carroll[1] that erroneously equated the two pitches. Although Carroll later corrected himself, the confusion persists.

The shuuto is used by a handful of American players, mainly in amateur leagues, although some argue that a variation on this pitch is also thrown by San Diego Padres pitcher Greg Maddux.[citation needed] A right-hander, Maddux often uses this shuuto-like pitch to freeze left-handed batters, as the pitch starts inside on the batters, and then breaks sharply down and inside the strike zone as the batter shies away from the ball.[citation needed]

The shuuto is mentioned often in the movie Mr. Baseball. This is the type of pitch that Tom Selleck's character is continually unable to hit. It is described as "the great equalizer".


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