The squeeze of the week has to be Jeff Bianchi’s safety “attempt” with Jean Segura on third against the Rangers. The play goes in the scoresheet as a steal of home for Segura, but that doesn’t tell half the story. Bianchi treated the play like a safety squeeze, pulling the bat back on a pitch high and outside. Segura played it very aggressively (I wonder if he thought it was a suicide), getting caught way down the third base line. Thanks to some nifty moves and the Rangers misexecuting the rundown, the Brewers score anyway.
This doesn’t even qualify as Segura’s most interesting baserunning of the season, as he “stole first” earlier this year.
Updated season leaders (full list)
After a couple quiet weeks on the squeeze front, the baseball gods smile on us with seven tries, including four suicides and a safety squeeze by noted bunt detractors, the Oakland Athletics, that led to insulting a pregnant woman on Twitter!
Updated season leaders (full list)
Game: Miami at Washington, August 4 (box, 10-7 Nationals win)
Situation:Top 7, one out, 1-1 count, runners at 1st/3rd, Miami up 5-4
Pitcher: Ryan Mattheus
Batter: Donovan Solano
Runner on 3rd: Jose Reyes
Leverage index: 2.1
Win probability added: +4.4%
Solano is the Marlins utility guy. When you’re a 24 year old and already marked as a utility guy, you better bring something else to the table. Like executing awesome safety squeeze plays late in one-run ballgames.
Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen calls for some unusual baserunning, sending the runner on first, Greg Dobbs, with the pitch. There’s little upside to the bunt-and-run. If the bunt is on the ground, Dobbs will make it to second whether he’s running with the pitch or not. If it’s bunted in the air, the Nationals will probably turn a double play. The one advantage would be if the second baseman goes to cover second base on the apparent attempted steal and the first baseman charges the bunt, nobody will be covering first base and the batter will reach safely. Here, the Nats read it all the way: SS covers second, the second baseman is moving toward first, and the first baseman covers his bag as the picher makes the play on the bunt.
Dandy Squeeze Score (what’s this?): +2 (+1, success; +1, seventh inning or later)
Game: Washington at Milwaukee, July 29 (box, 11-10 Nationals win)
Situation: Bottom 6, one out, 0-0 count, runners at 1st/2nd/3rd, Milwaukee up 3-2
Pitcher: Gio Gonzalez
Batter: Norichika Aoki
Runner on 3rd: Jonathan Lucroy
Leverage index: 2.2
Win probability added: +7.1%
Calling this play a suicide squeeze doesn’t begin to do it justice. This play is about six inches away from being a triple play. There are two botched calls by the umpires (play at first, disallowing the second run), which brings both managers out to argue. And for the moment, it put the Brewers at 90% win probability.
Dandy Squeeze Score (what’s this?): +4 (+1, success; +1, suicide; +1, batter reaches safely; +1, bases loaded)
Game: Washington at Boston, June 10 (box, 4-3 Nationals win)
Situation: Top 7, one out, 1-1 count, runners at 2nd/3rd, Washington down 2-1
Pitcher: Jon Lester
Batter: Roger Bernadina
Runner on 3rd: Ian Desmond
Leverage index: 2.6
Win probability added: -14.0%
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Here’s how it went down:
Bernadina sees three pitches, and he squares to bunt on all three. The first pitch is bunted foul on the ground down first base line foul. The second pitch is outside, and Bernadina doesn’t offer at it. The third pitch is a high fastball, and it’s bunted in the air straight to the first baseman. The Nats narrowly avoided disaster as Tyler Moore was almost doubled off second base on the play.
I have to think that showing bunt on three consecutive pitches played a role in this fail. A high fastball is the toughest pitch to bunt on the ground, and sure enough, Lester induces a pop up.
Bernadina redeemed himself in the ninth with a two-out, run scoring double that gave the Nats the lead for good.
Dandy Squeeze Score (what’s this?): -2 (-1, fail; -1, pop up)