Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Proper timing on the squeeze

June 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Hitting

I’m watching highlights last night on the MLB Channel and they get to the San Diego Padres game.  With a runner on third and the pitcher up, the Padres manager calls for a suicide squeeze.  The hitter was left handed and the pitcher just threw one up and away, almost like a pitchout.  No bunt and the runner coming from third was a dead out.  Larry Bowa, one of the MLB Channel announcers, went on and on about how he didn’t like that play with a left handed batter at the plate.  He felt all the pitcher had to do was throw one like he did to ruin the play with the left handed batter up at bat.

I’m a huge fan of the squeeze play.  I even wrote a five part series of posts about it.  They are all below and will provide you with everything you could possibly want to know about the squeeze play.

Contrary to want Larry Bowa said, the problem with the Padres’ squeeze play had nothing to do with the fact that the batter was left handed.  It had everything to do with the fact that BOTH the runner and the batter screwed up the timing of their responsibilities.  The runner took off too early and the batter squared around too soon.  Both screw-ups allowed the pitcher time to alter his pitch and ruin the squeeze play.  As I mentioned in the squeeze play posts, if the timing of it is correct, there really is no way to defend the squeeze play.  It just becomes and matter of the hitter’s ability to get the bunt down on the ground.  

The timing should be as follows.  Neither the batter nor the runner do anything until, at very least, the pitcher separates his hands in his delivery.  Square around earlier than that and/or have the runner start to sprint sooner and the pitcher will know a squeeze is on and be able to alter whatever pitch he is throwing.  After his hands separate, he is locked into whatever pitch he was throwing.  To make it even more difficult for the defense, tell the runner and the batter to not start until the pitcher’s throwing hand starts to come up and forward after getting the ball the ball out of his glove.  It’s a little less time for everyone involved but it is sure to catch the defense by surprise.

Master the timing and the squeeze play will work no matter which side the batter hits from.

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