The Two-Out Squeeze Debate

Jim Dandy and I were discussing the A’s walk-off win over the Red Sox in Game One of the 2003 ALDS. To refresh your memory, a tie game in extra innings, Oakland (home) loaded the bases with two outs. Ramon Hernandez dropped a bunt down, reached first without a play, and the winning run scored. Here’s the video:

Jim Dandy describes this as a squeeze play, and I do not. He contends that any bunt that drives in a run is a squeeze play. I believe that a squeeze play is designed as a sacrifice bunt that specifically advances a runner from third to home. Since a sacrifice can’t happen with two outs, this play is not a squeeze.

To settle the debate, I enlisted the National Baseball Editor from SB Nation, and one of the most respected baseball writers, Rob Neyer, sending him a message for his mailbag feature. His response is here:

Unfortunately, Rob’s response only considers suicide squeezes and excludes safety squeezes where the runner isn’t moving on the pitch. So we moved on.

While the debate is not closed, the best argument I’ve heard to date is this: A two-out squeeze is an accident.

That is, the batter is trying to reach base. He HAS to reach base. If a run scores on the play, well, that’s an accident. A good accident, but an accident nonetheless. A squeeze is a strategic play, and you don’t devise a strategy around an accident, a two-out squeeze isn’t a squeeze at all.


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