John Jaso Safety Squeeze

Game: Oakland at Houston, 2013/4/5 (box, 8-3 Athletics win)
Situation: Top 5, one out, 0-0 count, runners at 1st/3rd, Oakland up 3-0
Pitcher: Xavier Cedeno
Batter: John Jaso
Runner on 3rd: Josh Reddick

Leverage index: 0.97
Win probability added: 3.4%

MLB.com video

And the first squeeze of the year is called by . . . Oakland? Team Moneyball is known for their reluctance to play small ball and give away outs. The Houston TV team wondered if affinity for this play (the 1st/3rd squeeze) was brought by Jaso from Tampa. Tampa did finish #2 on the Suicidal Tendencies list last year.

In any case, the squeeze is a rarity by Oakland. Below are the number of sacrifice bunts the A’s have run in the Billy Beane era. After Beane’s conversion to statistical analysis (~2000), the A’s have only been above league in sac hits once, in 2010 (AL average ~35-38 per year).

1998 58
1999 39
2000 26
2001 25
2002 20
2003 22
2004 25
2005 19
2006 25
2007 18
2008 30
2009 31
2010 43
2011 34
2012 27

Only six of those were with a runner on third (scoring runs on all 6). One of those (2008-05-16 vs Atlanta) might not have even been a squeeze with Dana Eveland, a pitcher, at the plate and runners at 1st/3rd. The play was probably just to move the runner from first to second base with the run scoring on a throwing error.

Of course, the best time for a squeeze is when the opposition isn’t expecting it. So perhaps the last 12 years have lulled the league into a false sense of security.

One other note… The A’s executed a safety squeeze at the end of spring training.

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One comment

  1. Pingback: This week in squeeze: August 2 – August 8 « The Squeeze Is On!

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