skip navigation

Pitchers and relievers: what’s the difference

In baseball, pitchers and relievers are two different roles in throwing the ball and key elements of a baseball lineup. Here are the main differences between the two:


  1. Starter: The pitcher, also called the starting pitcher or starter, starts the game and throws the first pitch. His job is to start the game strong and long (usually 5-7 or more innings).
  2. Length of Performance: The starting pitcher usually plays a longer game than the reliever. His goal is to control the flow of the game from the start and keep his opponents at bay.
  3. Many types of throws: A starting pitcher often has more variety in types of throws and can change the speed and direction of the ball to deceive batters (hitters).
  4. Preparation: A starting pitcher has more preparation before a game and usually has a more rigorous training and preparation regime.


  1. Exit Time: Relievers are pitchers who enter the game after the starting pitcher, often in the later innings. They may enter the game briefly to finish an inning or to replace the starting pitcher in the middle of a game.
  2. Specialisation: Relievers often specialise in certain situations. For example, there are relievers who specialise in closing games (clozers) and there are situational relievers who enter a game to fight certain batters.
  3. Fewer innings: Relievers typically throw fewer innings per game compared to starting pitchers. Their goal is to provide the team with successful performances in specific situations.
  4. Limited Throwing Choice: Relievers often have a limited number of throwing types, but they can be very accurate and effective in their role.

Each of these roles has its own importance on a baseball team and requires specific skills and strategies. Successful teams often have strong starting pitchers and reliable relievers to provide a balance between defence and attack.