Game: Miami at Colorado, August 16 (box, 5-3 Rockies win)
Situation: Bottom 7, one out, 0-0 count, runner at 3rd, Colorado up 4-3
Pitcher: Ricky Nolasco
Batter: Eric Young
Runner on 3rd: Josh Rutledge
Leverage index: 1.3
Win probability added: +5.1%
I’ve watched this play several times, and I can’t say definitively that this is a safety squeeze. It looks like Rutledge is running on the pitch. The announcers call it a safety squeeze, so I’ll go with that, but we’ll say Rutledge got an aggressive break on the play.
The announcers also reference the notion that squeeze plays are most often called on the first pitch of a plate appearance. We’ll revisit this, but a quick peek at the data doesn’t exactly back the statement up. In my list for 2012, there were 43 squeeze plays called on the first pitch, 43 called on the second pitch, and 34 on later pitches. Of course, for plate appearances that end on pitches 2 or later, the squeeze might have been called for the first pitch but the first pitch didn’t result in a squeeze (foul or batter didn’t offer). At the very least, the claim that squeeze plays are most often called on the first pitch is dubious. Over the offseason I look at this again more carefully.
Another caveats: This only includes plays that ended in a bunt attempt and a few, but probably not all, busted suicide squeeze where the runner scored or was tagged out. E.g., if there was a foul ball on the first pitch, and then the squeeze was taken off for the rest of the plate appearance, those cases are not included. This probably doesn’t happen too often, but I can’t say for sure.
Dandy Squeeze Score (what’s this?): +3 (+1, success; +1, suicide; +1, right-handed pitcher)