Game: Cincinnati at New York Mets, May 16 (box, 6-3 Reds win)
Situation: Bottom 6, one out, 0-0 count, runners at 2nd/3rd, New York up 2-1
Pitcher: Mike Leake
Batter: Mike Nickeas
Runner on 3rd: Daniel Murphy
Leverage index: 1.4
Win probability added: +2%
The Mets have become squeeze happy this week. After executing successfully against the Brewers the day before, they tried their luck against the Reds. Here, they’ve got a lead and Johan Santana on the mound. An extra run might seal it for them. And with weak-hitting catcher Mike Nickeas (.186/.259/.245 career) at the plate, why not try the squeeze? The play extends the Mets’ lead to 3-1, but it goes for naught as the bullpen implodes, and they lose 6-3.
I don’t know if this is justified or not, but I don’t think of catchers as good bunters. When I imagine a good bunter, I think of a scrappy, speedy, middle infielder. Plodding catchers can’t bunt for a hit. On the other hand, there are many defense-first catchers out there. Those guys might need to have the bunt in their skill set. Nickeas does a great job here.
Continuing the theme for the week, the Mets tried a safety squeeze the next day, but the runner didn’t break for the plate. As long as the bottom half of the Mets’ lineup is exclusively sub-.200 hitters, their opposition should expect squeezes early and often.
Dandy Squeeze Score (what’s this?): +3 (+1, success; +1, suicide; +1, right-handed pitcher)